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Brownlow: Tar Heels prepared to "see what happens" opposite No. 1-seed Wisconsin

It’s not unequivocally mostly that North Carolina (26-11) gets to play a purpose of a underdog. But when a Tar Heels face a No. 1 seed in Wisconsin (33-3), they will utterly literally be that.

In each clarity of a word.

The Tar Heels have been on a bit of a drum coaster this season, for a accumulation of reasons. Preseason ACC Player of a Year Marcus Paige fought by plantar fasciitis for a bulk of a season. Freshman ensure Justin Jackson, as freshmen tend to do, went by ups and downs and struggled to find consistency.

And maybe many importantly, North Carolina’s report was brutal.

No one has played some-more games opposite a teams left in a margin than North Carolina, who has played 11 sum and is 4-7 in those games. But that’s 29.6 percent of their games.

While they don’t have a ton of good wins, a Tar Heels unequivocally usually have one ostensible “bad” detriment — during Pittsburgh. They played 19 of their 35 games this year opposite teams that done a NCAA tournament, and counting a contest itself, 21 of 37 — 56.7 percent. Only Oklahoma (53.1 percent pre-tournament, 55.9 percent overall) and West Virginia (50 percent, 52.9 percent) come tighten of a teams remaining.

Ten of North Carolina’s 11 waste have come to teams that done a field, and all 11 of a teams a Tar Heels mislaid to done a postseason (Pitt done a NIT). Seven of their 11 waste are to a 15 teams remaining.

In a sense, both Paige and North Carolina’s seasons have paralleled one other. Paige had a lot of expectations on him, both from himself and from outsiders. So did this team. For a while, that vigour seemed to get to him — afterwards he grown a feet problem. As he played by it, he never seemed like himself.

North Carolina forsaken to 19-9 behind on Feb. 24 after a home detriment to NC State where it fundamentally got dominated. And it didn’t demeanour good.

The Tar Heels are 7-2 since, reaching a ACC contest championship diversion before using out of gas opposite a fanciful Notre Dame group and losing a regular-season culmination to Duke, a group that is now rolling everyone.

Paige, given he began to play pain-free, according to him, on Mar 3, has averaged 16.5 points on 47.3 percent shooting, 42.6 percent from three. In a 8 games before to that, he averaged 11.6 points and shot 40.7 percent. His group is 6-2 during this stream stretch, compared to 3-5 in a 8 games before.

“I unequivocally haven’t exceeded some expectations,” Paige said. “There was a lot on me during a commencement of a year, and we put a lot of expectations on myself. we got injured. we started off delayed and afterwards we got harm for a lot of a year.

“But we consider I’m entrance around during a right time, and a group is gelling together during a right time. So I’m not too disturbed about what other people have pronounced and either I’ve lived adult or haven’t lived adult to what people have pegged me for this year. I’m usually perplexing to do whatever we can to assistance this group right now, and we consider I’m personification my best basketball of a year right now.”

Wisconsin will be a eighth Ken Pomeroy-top 10 group that a Tar Heels have played this season. They’ve been tighten in some, though they’ve won usually once — in a ACC contest opposite Virginia, a group that plays a identical dash to a Badgers.

Even so, North Carolina had to get that diversion adult to 67 security to win it. The Tar Heels are 2-5 in games with 65 or fewer possessions, and Wisconsin has played usually 5 games with some-more than 65 all year.

The Badgers aren’t your standard counsel descent group in a clarity that they are impossibly efficient. They’re a many fit offense in a republic from a tempo-free perspective, per Ken Pom, and they spin it over on a fewest commission of their security of anyone in a country. They fire 35.8 percent from 3 and 55.4 percent from dual to boot.

Defensively, they’re not a selected Wisconsin group — usually 41st nationally — though their biggest strength is something that could potentially annul North Carolina’s biggest strength. They keep opponents off a descent potion unequivocally effectively, and North Carolina is second nationally in descent resilient percentage.

“I was gripping points per possession when we coached in youth high propagandize in a ’70s. All of a sudden, it’s spin a large statistic now and we usually chuckle, a guys that have famous me for years — ‘Hey, Bo, we consider we were on to something there with those points per possession.’ No kidding,” Wisconsin conduct manager Bo Ryan said.

“So what I’m removing during to answer is if we give adult usually one shot, we consider your points per possession defensively are going to spin out to be flattering good? Absolutely. So, yes, we do work on that.”

As fit and mistake-free as a Badgers are, Wisconsin also has a expected National Player of a Year in Frank Kaminsky.

The 7-foot comparison is averaging 18.4 points per diversion (even some-more considerable deliberation a Badgers’ tempo) and 8.1 rebounds, sharpened scarcely 60 percent from dual and over 40 percent from three. He can take hostile bigs out to a three-point line, and he can take them off a dribble. He’s fundamentally a matchup nightmare.

North Carolina conduct manager Roy Williams has seen his group onslaught during times with hostile stretch-4’s and 5’s — Notre Dame’s Pat Connaughton gave North Carolina fits in dual games this year as a 6-foot-5 energy forward, and Arkansas did during times with Bobby Portis and Michael Qualls.

But even Williams knows Kaminsky is a opposite animal entirely.

“Very, unequivocally severely is a approach we’re going to try to understanding with him. He can go out on a building and fire a three. He can fire it in a pull-up. He’s a unequivocally good passer,” Williams said. “So he’s unequivocally a fantastic, illusory player.

“One of a large guys is going to have to be means to get out there and ensure him, and we might finish adult going tiny some as we did opposite Arkansas. And a lot of that also depends on how healthy Kennedy (Meeks) is. we don’t wish to usually contend ‘well, nobody can ensure Frank, so let’s play small’ given that takes divided partial of a diversion as a inside scoring. So it is a change there that we have to have.”

Meeks harm his knee opposite Arkansas, though he went by use on Wednesday in Los Angeles with a knee prop and should be a go. That’s going to be a balancing act for North Carolina — go tiny and risk giving adult an advantage on a glass, or stay large and risk vouchsafing Kaminsky go off?

Senior walk-on Jackson Simmons has been playing a purpose of Kaminsky in practice, according to Andrew Carter of The News and Observer. But he’s 6-foot-7 and apparently doesn’t have Kaminsky’s ability set.

Either way, a Tar Heels aren’t ostensible to hit off a Badgers. It would be an dissapoint — frequency a staggering one, though an dissapoint nonetheless.

In 12 seasons during North Carolina, Williams is 29-8 in a NCAA contest and has reached 7 Sweet 16’s, 6 Elite Eight’s and 3 Final Fours. But a Tar Heels hadn’t gotten past a Round of 32 given 2011-12. This group had bigger goals for itself during a outset, though that was an critical step.

This group is personification a best basketball now, and Williams will try to lift from his contest story to have it personification a best in this one — afterwards they’ll see what happens.

“Just try to get a kids to combine on 3 or 4 keys that we give them right before a diversion to assistance us win a game,” Williams said. “Try to get them to combine on those things, try to get them to know that if we play unequivocally good — and if we play unequivocally good and if we get propitious — they might let us stay around and play another one.”

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