The Badgers have had some success in the Big Ten/ACC challenge in recent years — upsetting Duke at home in 2009 and dismantling North Carolina State in 2010 — but for the 2011 season, the Badgers drew their toughest opponent yet: the University of North Carolina.
The Badgers will travel to Chapel Hill Nov. 30 to take on the Tarheels, who ESPN’s Andy Katz has ranked No. 1 in his early preseason poll. Wisconsin is No. 11 in the same poll.
Wisconsin and UNC have met only once previously, when the Tarheels knocked off Bucky in the 2005 Elite Eight en route to a national championship. UNC fell to Illinois by a score of 79-67 in last year’s Big Ten/ACC Challenge.
Following the departure of Jon Leuer and Keaton Nankivil, this game will probably mark the first (and perhaps biggest) test for the Badgers’ new front line. Jared Berggren showed flashes of the ability to be a dominant post defender last season, but matching up against the likes of Harisson Barnes, John Henson and Tyler Zeller — who many consider to make up the best frontcourt in the country – may prove too much to handle for him and whoever else plays in the post next season for the Badgers.
The Tarheels also have talented guards in Dexter Strickland, Kendall Marshall and Leslie McDonald, but it will be interesting to see if any of them are up to the task of containing Wisconsin’s Jordan Taylor, a preseason candidate for the Naismith award.
The matchup will also showcase two extremes in style of play. According to Ken Pomroy, North Carolina played at the 16th fastest tempo in the nation, with 71.7 possessions per game. The Badgers, on the other hand, were the second slowest, at 58 possessions per game.