Tar Heels last 3 games vs Wisconsin

Over the past 10 years, the University of North Carolina and University of Wisconsin have only matched up three times against one another on the basketball court, here is a look at those games.

Spanning from North Carolina to Los Angeles to Hawaii, the Tar Heels and Badgers have had some battles. Will we see another battle on Friday?


“I’m glad I don’t play you anymore.”

Date: November 30th, 2011
Location: Chapel Hill
Result: 60-57 (WIN)

The North Carolina Tar Heels started the 2011/12 season with near unanimous #1 in all major polls. It wasn’t until the game before the Badgers where UNC were knocked off top spot after a surprise loss to UNLV.

Wisconsin were a top ten program at the time, with a young Frank Kaminsky as a freshmen starting off his Badgers career. The Tar Heels squad was stacked with talent; Harrison Barnes, John Henson, Kendall Marshall, Tyler Zeller and more.

The non-conference game in November though was a tough one for UNC. The Badgers slowed down North Carolina, so the traditional fast paced transition offence was pretty much non-existent. Wisconsin defended well enough to make the Tar Heels use the whole shot clock. The Badgers are a great rebounding side and had been averaging 14 rebounds per game more than their opponents. The Tar Heels were also a powerhouse school on the boards too and ended up battling with a 42-29 advantage.

UNC struggled in their offence and were even trailing by 5 points in the second half, but one of the top teams in the nation turned the heat up and went on a 18-5 run to put the game beyond doubt. Barnes (20 pts) was the Tar Heels main offensive threat, knocking down two three pointers and a jumper in the late run. Henson was a beast on the defensive end with 5 blocks and a huge 17 rebounds. UNC knocked down 16 of 18 free throws in the second half, helping North Carolina pick up the win against Wisconsin.

Coach Williams let out his frustrations at end of the game and told Coach Bo Ryan:

“I’m glad I don’t play you anymore.”

Coach Roy Williams


Date: March 26th, 2015
Location: Los Angeles
Result: 72-79 (LOSS)

A few years later and how the tables have turned. Wisconsin Badgers were a #1 seed in the NCAA Tournament going up against #4 Tar Heels in the Sweet 16. Frank ‘The Tank’ Kaminsky is now a senior, with Sam Dekker partnering up with him as the Badgers top players.

Justin Jackson and Brice Johnson both picked up 15 points where the Tar Heels led most of the game. UNC outscored the Badgers 14-6 to take their largest lead to 53-46. Joel Berry and Isaiah Hicks had 4 points each, while the Badgers struggled offensively.

Then that run came to an immediate halt with the Badgers launching a 19-7 run that put them back in front 65-60. The Tar Heels then went back and forth to the final moments. Marcus Paige hit consecutive 3-pointers that pulled UNC to just within one with less than a minute to go. Wisconsin then made all eight of their free throws, four by Kaminsky, over the closing seconds to end the game.

North Carolina’s 11-game win streak in the Sweet 16 (dating back to 1993) was snapped by Wisconsin, which stood as the longest ever.

“We wanted to pressure them and not allow them to be comfortable, and we did that for the most part. The problem was we couldn’t finish our defense on key possessions.”

Marcus Paige


Date: November 23rd, 2016
Location: Maui, Hawaii
Result: 71-56 (WIN)

Of course, many Tar Heel fans have the 2016/17 season close to their hearts and memories. That season included a successful business trip to Hawaii. It was the last time North Carolina faced Wisconsin, when they met in the Maui Tournament Final.

Compared to their two previous encounters, this was a Tar Heel domination. Four UNC players reached double figures with Joel Berry II scoring a game-high of 22 points. Kennedy Meeks finished with 15 points and 16 rebounds (career-high), he was a monster on the defensive end.

The Tar Heels outrebounded Wisconsin (who were a good rebounding team) with a 38-26 advantage. It was not Wisconsin’s day, the Badgers missed their first 11 from the field and needed nearly 8 minutes to score.

Justin Jackson (12 pts) and Isaiah Hicks (14 pts) helped with the overall team performance to pick up the title in Hawaii, the first time since 2008/09 season.

Berry was awarded the MVP of the tournament and was already thinking about the final prize:

“We have a chip on our shoulder and we’re going to continue to get better as the year goes on. We’re playing good right now, but I think we can still play better.”

Joel Berry II

Over the last three games, that is two wins out of three against Wisconsin for UNC, will they make it 3 out of 4 on Friday?

Coach Williams is currently 29-0 in the first round of the NCAA Tournament, with many people seeing North Carolina as the dark horse in March.


Follow on Twitter at @britishtarheel for updates on Current Tar Heels and Pro Tar Heels with a close eye on the Tar Heels Overseas.

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