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Wisconsin vs. North Carolina: NCAA Tournament how to watch, game preview and open thread

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We’ve been waiting two years for March basketball. Let’s freaking do this, people!

NCAA Basketball: Big Ten Conference Tournament-Penn State vs Wisconsin Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports

We did it.

It’s March and there is big time college basketball on our TVs all weekend. The No. 9 seed Wisconsin Badgers will take on the No. 8 seed North Carolina Tar Heels on Friday night from Mackey Arena in West Lafayette, Ind. and, quite frankly, we couldn’t be more excited.

Wisconsin hasn’t lived up to expectations this year and, to be fair, neither has UNC, but come Tourney Time everyone is starting at the same point and you can throw out your regular season record. We’ve already discussed the fact that UNC is an excellent rebounding team, we’ve made our predictions for the Final Four and we’ve talked about the Tar Heels on the podcast.

I think it’s time to just drop the puck, as they say, and get this game going. Ya gotta love March Madness, baby! Let’s do this!

How to watch/listen

TV: CBS, around 6:10 p.m., CST, Ian Eagle, Jim Spanarkel, Jamie Erdhal

Streaming: CBS Sports

Radio/Satellite: 1310 AM, Sirius/XM 206; Matt Lepay, Mike Lucas; Westwood One; John Sadak, Jordan Cornette

Live stats: Here!

Arena: Mackey Arena, West Lafayette, Ind.

Line: Wisconsin +1

KenPom Wisconsin win percentage: 55%

Fun facts (according to the media guides)

  • The Badgers are playing in their 21st Big Dance in the last 22 NCAA Tournaments, one of only five schools that can say that.
  • The Badgers have won 10 of their last 12 opening-round NCAA tournament games, holding teams to 57.3 points per game in their initial tourney game.
  • UW has won a total of 33 NCAA tournament games since 2000, the second-highest total in the Big Ten and seventh-highest mark in the NCAA.
  • Wisconsin is 1-2 all-time as a No. 9 seed in the NCAA tournament. UW’s lone victory came in an 80-72 win over No. 8 Cincinnati in 1994.
  • Greg Gard has led Wisconsin to four of the five NCAA tournaments during his tenure as head coach. After winning the Big Ten regular season title last year, Gard had UW poised for a top seed prior to last year’s tournament being cancelled.
  • The Badgers are 4-3 in the NCAA Tournament under Gard.
  • UNC leads the all-time series 3-1. However, the series is tied 1-1 in the tournament with the Badgers recording a win in the 2015 Sweet 16 and the Tar Heels claiming a win in the 2005 Elite Eight.
  • I, personally, will never forgive Sean May for what he did in the Elite Eight game and I hope he reads this.
  • Wisconsin has faced the 10th-toughest schedule in the nation, which includes 15 Quad 1 games. Only three teams in the nation have played more Quad 1 games.
  • UW leads the NCAA averaging 8.9 turnovers per game - that would rank fifth in school history.
  • I know it’s a small sample size but...UW connected on 43.8% from 3-point range over its last three games, going 28-for-64.
  • UW is 9-1 when shooting at least 40% from 3-point range this season and 12-0 when it shoots a better FG pct. than its foe.
  • UW is second in the B1G shooting 76.7% from the FT line - that would rank second in school history.
  • Trevor Anderson, Brad Davison, Aleem Ford, Walt McGrory, Micah Potter, Nate Reuvers and D’Mitrik Trice have appeared in a combined 666 (!!!) games and 433 starts.
  • The Tar Heels are 1-0 at Mackey Arena, defeating Purdue, 86-74, on 12/22/1990. Current UNC assistant coach Hubert Davis scored 12 points in the Tar Heel victory.
  • This is the fourth time the Tar Heels have been a No. 8 seed. Carolina is 7-3 as a No. 8 seed.

Potential Starters

Wisconsin

  • D’Mitrik Trice, 6-foot, redshirt senior, guard, No. 0
  • Aleem Ford, 6-foot-8, redshirt senior, forward, No. 2
  • Tyler Wahl, 6-foot-9, sophomore, forward, No. 5
  • Brad Davison, 6-foot-4, senior, guard, No. 34
  • Nate Reuvers, 6-foot-11, senior, forward, No. 35

North Carolina

  • Leaky Black, 6-foot-8, junior, forward, No. 1
  • Caleb Love, 6-foot-4, freshman, guard, No. 2
  • Armando Bacot, 6-foot-10, sophomore, forward, No. 5
  • Garrison Brooks, 6-foot-10, senior, forward, No. 15
  • Kerwin Walton, 6-foot-5, freshman, guard, No. 24

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