Tar Heels Won’t Face Real Test Until November 30th


No test until fellow all American Jordan Taylor and the Wisconsin Badgers visit Chapel Hill.

With two victories thus far and what appears to be two warm-ups at home and a trip to Las Vegas , the real test for this year’s tar heels may not take place until Wisconsin comes to town. Though it may be a quiz playing inferior opponents with a possible match up with UNLV in a real road game on the 26th, anything else will be too easy leading up to a November 30th match up with the badgers. (Then traveling to Lexington for a top ten showdown with fellow powerhouse Kentucky Wildcats won’t be cake walk, John Calipari is hard to beat at Rupp arena)

When top 25 Wisconsin visits Chapel Hill, Harrison Barnes will not be the only preseason All American on campus. Badgers prime-time point guard Jordan Taylor mite just have a say in the outcome of this game. UNC already knows they don’t want this guy to get going and fans will soon after the fact. Taylor will be a handful alone for Kendall Marshall, so much so we may potentially see several guards in the tar heel back court cover him at different times. With Jordan Taylor’s ability to shoot the 3 it’s hard to shut him down, like Harrison Barnes you would like to contain him and contest his shots. Then you just live with the fact that he will get his points even with good defense. Though a great scoring PG What may separate Taylor from most is his defense. The ability he has to cover the 2 guard as well makes his transition to the next level look appealing for NBA scouts. He is one of few shut down PGs in the nation. That is not to say Carolina doesn’t have a shutdown guard of its own, Taylor is a preseason All- American for all of these reasons combined, not just his D.

Let’s not forget either the depth advantage goes to UNC hands down. Tyler Zeller, John Henson, and Marshall all received several votes for preseason all American 2nd team honors. And if not for a deep talented pool of guards nationwide this year, Marshall finds his way on 1rst or 2nd team with ease. With that said and the talent on the bench, throughout the entire season and into the tournament there are not too many teams that can say they match up well with UNC. Combined with the style Carolina likes to play, if Wisconsin stands a chance, coach Bo Ryan’s style of basketball will be on display. Smart shots, long possessions, and great defense. If those things happen and it’s a low scorer at half, let’s not be surprised if the badgers are in it to the end. Also Wis has shown they can hit the 3, shooting over 40% from the arc and 44% overall, meaning they may never be out of a game even down a lot. Yes that’s just a few games but the Badgers schedule leading to Chapel Hill is that of a High School JV team, so those percentages may not change too much. And after this big match up Wisconsin plays in state rival Marquette, not to see another real test until January.

This leads one to believe the November 30th game in chapel hill may be a preview of a late March highly seeded and by then a potentially highly anticipated rematch. A fan of both programs like me could only hope!
Not to focus only on the stars in this match up, being that there are several overall who will be in the NBA one day, Wisconsin has several hustle guys who will be tasked with the duty of guarding Harrison Barnes. One of those guys is 6 ‘6″ Forward Mike Bruesewitz who starts too solely because of his hustle and energy. (he can shoot a lil too) But likewise with Barnes as Taylor, we may see several guys trying to keep a hand up on Barnes. Another may be high-top fade rocking G-F Ryan Evans who is also 6’6″ but a little more athletic than Bruesewitz. If Wisconsin gets in foul trouble that can only go in UNCs favor. The lack of depth and size on the badger bench will only get exposed if Coach Bo Ryan has to go there early due to mistakes.

That same can’t be said for coach Williams and his bench. At anytime during the season we may see a few different guys come off that bench and provide a spark at any given time. From James McAdoo’s size to PJ Hairston’s jumper, coach Roy will have several options if and when the bench is needed. Reggie Bullock may see the court but will have to prove each minute he plays he’s ready to succeed this year. And if it comes to crunch time and getting stops, bench or not, the defensive experience of Dexter Strickland and the length of Carolina bigs will play a key role.

2 guys to keep an eye on who could be the x factor.

Sophomore G Ben Brust coming off the Wisconsin bench can score. Career high 17 points against Colgate could be the start of a breakout season for Burst. And for UNC 6’6″ freshman PJ Hairston. This guard has all the tools and size to develop into a match up nightmare, but what he has now is the ability to score buckets, especially from behind the arc. It’s just a matter of time before he impacts a game or two, and with Wisconsin’s lack of size overall and if they go small, this may be a game where a bigger guard like Hairston gets an opportunity.

Yet overall I don’t believe the Tar Heels want it to be a low scoring game. That may favor Wisconsin and their defense. If UNC gets out and runs from the tip, it may be a long day for Wisconsin. There is no doubt that Carolina is a match up nightmare, top to bottom for about every team in the nation. Yet this may be the only time all year there may be a better PG on the court, not named Kendall Marshall, in Chapel Hill November 30th. Either way the night will be filled with stars on both sides. With the NBA in a lot of their futures. Undoubtedly that means it should be a great game, part of the always great ACC/Big Ten challenge. Which has now grown to somewhat of an early season college basketball tradition, it shows these programs where they rank with the top competition in the nation. It measures each team against the best, lets that team know in a win where they are, or in a hard fought loss, that team now learns how much farther they must go. Though it appears both UNC and Wis should coast and remain unbeaten till they meet, upon arrival both teams will be playing to win and make a statement early in the season. Being a prime time game on national television only means one thing, everyone’s watching!

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