All previews: click here for the full 2015 NCAA tournament schedule
Conference: Big Ten
North Carolina Tar Heels
Date: Thursday, March 26
Time: 7:47 pm Eastern
Location: Los Angeles, CA
Wisconsin and North Carolina are playing way out in LA.
Wisconsin North Carolina
SportsRatings Power Ratings
Strength: #3 Strength: #9
Median play: #6 Median play: #10
Other Power Ratings
Sagarin(predictor):#3 Sagarin: #9
Pomeroy: #3 Pomeroy: #13
Offense: #1 Offense: #12
Defense: #39 Defense: #50
LRMC: #5* LRMC: #8*
BPI: #2 BPI: #12
Power Rating Derivatives
2nd half/season: #4 2nd half/season: #13
Last 6 games: #4 Last 6 games: #13
Injury correction: #6 / #2 Injury correction: #8
Consistency: #215 Consistency: #288
The Badgers still have the #1 offense in Pomeroy, pitted against UNC's #50 defense. It's not quite as bad of a mismatch the other way but the Tar Heels should score on the Badgers. Injuries are another complicating factor: we rate Wisconsin #6 without Traevon Jackson—whom they've been without for some time, though he may return at any moment. Meanwhile North Carolina may be without #3 Kennedy Meeks. We don't have nearly enough data to diagnose them without Meeks.
- Wins vs. tournament teams (15): Boise St.+24, =UAB+29, =Georgetown+3, =Oklahoma+13, Buffalo+12, Purdue+7, Iowa+32, @Iowa+11, Indiana+14, Michigan St.+7, @Ohio St.+24, =Purdue+20, =Michigan St.+OT, =Coastal Carolina+14, =Oregon+7
- Wins vs. Sweet Sixteen (3): =Oklahoma+13, Michigan St.+7, =Michigan St.+OT
- Losses to tournament teams (2): Duke-10, @Maryland-6
- Other losses (1): @Rutgers-5
Key Info: It's hard to pinpoint Wisconsin's most dominant win of the year. Was it early on, when they beat Chattanooga by 44 points, almost doubling the Mocs' score (game 2)? Or beating Milwaukee by 39 on the road (game 10)? Those had big margins but not the best of competition—what about beating 7-seed Iowa, 82-50, in game 19? Or maybe it was beating 10-seed Ohio State on the road, 72-48 (game 31)? On the other hand, it's easy to find their worst loss, since there are only 3 to choose from. It wasn't the loss to 1-seed Duke, even if it was by double digits and at home. Nor was it the late loss at 4-seed Maryland. Clearly it was the 67-62 loss at Rutgers, ranked #219 by Pomeroy. The Badgers were without star 7-footer Frank Kaminsky (18.2 ppg, 8.0 rebounds) that game and lost #4 scorer Traevon Jackson during it. Jackson may be back for the tournament, which would give them another push toward the Final Four.
Kaminsky had a Wooden-award level performance with 27 points and 12 rebounds against Coastal Carolina. Forward Sam Dekker led with 17 against Oregon.
- Wins vs. tournament teams (11): Robert Morris+44, =Davidson+18, =UCLA+22, =Ohio St.+8, UAB+31, Louisville+1, @North Carolina St.+2, Louisville+10, Virginia+4, =Harvard+2, =Arkansas+9
- Wins vs. Sweet Sixteen (4): =UCLA+22, Louisville+1, @North Carolina St.+2, Louisville+10
- Losses to tournament teams (10): =Butler-8, Iowa-5, @Kentucky-14, Notre Dame-1, @Louisville-OT, Virginia-11, @Duke-OT, North Carolina St.-12, Duke-7, Notre Dame-8
- Other losses (1): @Pittsburgh-13
Key Info: North Carolina played 8 tournament teams outside of the ACC, beating 5 and losing to three—Butler, Iowa, and Kentucky. In this early stretch they played some of their best and worst games, and after a period of relative stability it became worse, as losses to Pitt and NC State were closely followed by blowouts of Georgia Tech by 29 and 32 points. Their back-to-back wins over Louisville and Virginia put them in the ACC final but they lost to Notre Dame.
North Carolina is one of the top offensive rebounding teams in the nation. Point Marcus Paige, now a junior, led the team in scoring again but his average was down to 13.9 from 17.5. He scored 12 against Harvard while forward Justin Jackson had 14. Paige scored 20 of his 22 points in the second half in the Arkansas win.
Game Analysis: Tempo clash: Wisconsin is famous for their slow tempo, and this year is no exception (#349 on offense) while North Carolina is, as usual, the opposite (#11 offensive pace).
But other areas are key, too: North Carolina is #5 in offensive rebounding percentage, and Wisconsin is #4 in defensive rebounding. The Badgers also win by not turning over the ball (#1) and by limiting opponents' free throw opportunities (#1).
The injury situation is a win-win for Wisconsin, as they might get Traevon Jackson back and North Carolina might be without Kennedy Meeks (7.4 rebounds per game).
Wisconsin by 6
Power rating: spread
Wisconsin by 3.6
Game-comparisons: % Chance to win
1-seeds historically have a 2:1 edge over 4-seeds, so the game-comparison system is showing respect for North Carolina, who at #9 in Strength is a very tough 4-seed.
Bottom line: This is a game North Carolina can win, but they'll need all the inside help they can get so having Meeks out—or hobbled—is not a good development.
Final prediction: Wisconsin 73, North Carolina 69
More previews: click here for the full 2015 NCAA tournament schedule.