The ninth-best contender Friday in the first round of the NCAA tournament, Wisconsin defeated No. 8 North Carolina 85-62 to advance to the round of 32.
The 18-12 Badgers, who had trouble winning at Mackey Arena during Big Ten play, made the trip to West Lafayette, Indiana, worthwhile by eliminating a 6-5 North Carolina Tar Heels club.
Since Greg Gard’s first full season as head coach in 2016-17, Wisconsin has never made it to the second round. Meanwhile, the Tar Heels (18-11) are returning home after just one game for the first time since a 1999 loss by two points to then-ranked 13 Weber State. It’s the first time Roy Williams has ever had a team he coached in North Carolina get eliminated in the first round of the NCAA Tournament.
On Sunday, the Badgers will play Baylor, the South Region’s top seed.
Badgers guard Brad Davison had a stat line of 29-6-1 for his team. Wisconsin Badgers guard D’Mitrik Trice scored 21 points and grabbed 5 rebounds and dished out 3 assists. Armando Bacot, forward for the North Carolina Tar Heels, scored 15 points and grabbed 4 rebounds. North Carolina Tar Heels forward Garrison Brooks scored 10 points and grabbed 10 rebounds.
Against the Tar Heels, Davison Reigns Supreme
For the season, Brad Davison averaged 9.4 points per game, good enough to get him into the NCAA tournament. The senior scored 29, one point shy of his previous high versus UNC.
The Minnesotan Davison, who stands at 6 feet, 4 inches tall, appeared to be given free reign on the offensive on this particular Friday, as he went on to shoot 10 of 15 from the field and score as many three-pointers (five) as the Tar Heels did field goals. He pulled down six boards as well.
The Badgers were able to maintain their 40-24 halftime lead thanks to the efforts of Davison and D’Mitrik Trice. Both players shot over 50% from the field, helping Wisconsin extend its stay in Indiana by two more days.
Even more so considering UW’s late-season struggles against stronger competition, Friday’s victory was a huge step forward for the Huskies.
Wisconsin’s only victory this season over a ranked opponent was against No. 21 Minnesota back in December. Perhaps a more favourable game could not have been found against a North Carolina team that, despite a late-season surge, shot poorly enough to make the tournament.
Without ever being down on Friday, the Badgers shot 50.8% from the field, outrebounded UNC 37-34, and won the turnover battle 10-7.
Davison served as the project’s primary driver throughout.
He Quitting of North Carolina Early
The Tar Heels had a disastrous 2020-21 campaign.
After starting the season 3-0, UNC has lost three straight games, including two to unranked opponents. The Tar Heels had fallen out of the top 25 and were scrambling to stay afloat before Williams could get them back on track.
The team’s strategy was to play via forwards Garrison Brooks and Armando Bacot and hope for a close game. UNC was in jeopardy if they didn’t win by at least that much.
On Friday, Trouble Quickly Appeared at Williams’ Club.
After a quick 23-point run by the Badgers, UNC’s chances of coming back seemed slim. Even though Brooks and Bacot got going in the second half, the Heels were unable to go on any significant scoring runs due to their poor outside shooting (five of thirteen).