Game Day Grades: North Carolina

CHAPEL HILL, N.C. - While its fan base may look at the silver lining and say No.9 Wisconsin pushed one of the top teams in the country to the brink in its own building, the three-point to No.5 North Carolina didn't sit well with a UW team that felt it missed on some opportunities. Badger Nation hands out the grades.

Offense: C

I think it's safe to say Wisconsin may have too much confidence in the three-point shot. Against North Carolina, they attempted 28 three's and made only eight of them. There were a couple of three's that were attempted late in the game, which were desperation three's, which is understandable. There were a couple of possessions in the game where UW was able to get the offensive rebounds and able to clear it from the basket we would shoot a three right away. They were open shots but UW never tried to get the offense set to see if we could get a better shot off.

Jared Berggren had a nice game for Wisconsin. He scored 14 points and was able to grab five rebounds. He was able to show off his versatility tonight by showing off his post moves and was also able to drive to the hoop a couple of times.

Jordan Taylor led the Badgers in scoring, but his 18 points came on 6-of-20 shooting. He also had four assists and didn't turn the ball over. Taylor at first was a little bit too aggressive and didn't try to get his teammates involved but got settled in and started to get production within the offense.

Taylor was the only Badger to shoot free throws tonight and he went 3 of 6 from the charity stripe. I'm not going to blame Taylor for the loss but it shows the importance of making free throws when you get to the free throw line. If Taylor makes those three (and Brust makes his half court heave) we have a tie ball game and the game goes in to overtime.

Overall the team had four turnovers and went 23-of-64 (35.9 percent) from the floor. A better shooting performance gets Wisconsin the win.

Defense: B

Coming into this game the Tar Heels were averaging 89.6 points a game. The Badgers held the Tar Heels to only 60 points on 19 of 45 (42.2 percent) shooting. The defense definitely did a good job of keeping this potential high scoring offense in check.

I don't know if it was nerves but at the beginning of the game the Tar Heels were able to get some easy buckets off of lay ups. They kept on getting behind the Badgers defense. The points weren't off fast breaks but due to poor team defense and them setting screens to get the easy points. But after the 16-minute media timeout, the Badgers defense tightened up and didn't allow any more easy buckets.

There was a plus-13 difference in rebounds in North Carolina's favor. This was the first true test where a team could match up with Wisconsin's size on the floor. North Carolina's big men are more athletic than Wisconsin but I wouldn't say by much. The reason the rebound margin was in North Carolina's favor so much was because Wisconsin didn't always do the best job of boxing out and getting the rebound.

Coming into this game people were talking about the great point guard match up between Taylor and Kendall Marshall. Taylor was clearly the better guard tonight. Marshall ended up coughing the ball up four times and only scored four points. The Badgers forced the Tar Heels into 14 turnovers.

The Badgers had a difficult time containing Harrison Barnes. Barnes led all scorers with 20 points, but Taylor said after that he had to work for his points. Still, When the Tar Heels needed an answer, Barnes was the one who provided it with UW taking Tyler Zeller and John Henson virtually out of the game.

Overall: B

Wisconsin played well enough to win this game but in the end, Barnes was clearly the best player on the floor. The Badgers were able to get a hand in his face but he was still able to knock the shot down.

At one time the Badgers were down by nine points in the first half and were able to fight back and take the lead. It's encouraging to see Wisconsin come back from nine down against a very talented team in North Carolina.

Although the Badgers defense was able to force 14 turnovers, they allowed the Tar Heels to get to the free throw line 24 times with them making 19 freebies, way too high for any team. Wisconsin is usually self-disciplined on the defensive side of the floor, so it's out of characteristic when they commit 21 team fouls.

I was impressed with Ryan Evans' 10 points to go along with seven rebounds and three blocked shots. He was aggressive when he needed to be and he did a good job on defense as well.

Game MVP: Jared Berggren. Berggren had a solid game despite fouling out . He did a little bit of everything for the Badgers. He rebounded, had a blocked shot, and had three steals. It was one of Berggren better all around performances tonight. He also did it against a talented Tar Heel team.

Berggren has been one of the more consistent contributors so far this season and it looks like that should stay the same through out the rest of the year. Some of the questions Badgers fans had about Berggren going into this year has been answered so far.

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