Three Things To Watch: No.22 Wisconsin vs. North Carolina State

Three Things To Watch: No.22 Wisconsin vs. North Carolina State

Basketball

Three Things To Watch: No.22 Wisconsin vs. North Carolina State

After finishing runner-up to No.4 Virginia in the Battle 4 Atlantis championship, Wisconsin (5-1) turns its attention to another ACC foe in North Carolina State in the ACC/Big Ten Challenge. Although the Badgers lost last year’s game at Virginia, Greg Gard is 4-2 against ACC teams.

While the Wolfpack enter Madison undefeated, winning their first six games by an average of 33 points per game, N.C. State has yet to play anybody of note (the six teams are a combined 6-29). This will be the third meeting between the two schools and the first since Wisconsin beat North Carolina State 87-48 in the 2010 ACC/Big Ten Challenge.

In this Badgers Insider feature, we will look at the three keys or questions for Wisconsin as they prepare to play North Carolina State on tonight.

FREE THROW: CAN WISCONSIN RECAPTURE ITS MAGIC FROM THREE?

Over the three days Wisconsin was in the Bahamas, the Badgers shot a combined 17-for-41 (41.4 percent) from three. Although it is a respectable number, the Badgers were helped out by shooting 63.6 percent on 22 attempts against Oklahoma to help boost the average. In the other two games, Wisconsin only combined to make three 3-pointers on 19 shot attempts.

It seemed like Wisconsin couldn’t miss from the perimeter to begin the season but it was likely the Badgers’ shooting would dip when the competition level increased. Once again the Badgers will face a team who will be able to contest shots from the perimeter, as N.C. State has allowing its opponents to shoot an average of 23.4 percent (25-for-107) from three.

In order for Wisconsin to have success against the Wolfpack, the Badgers are going to need to generate more success from three than what N.C. State has allowed its opponents. Wisconsin’s ability to consistently connect shots will help open up the paint to allow Ethan Happ and Nate Reuvers to have success around the rim (UW is averaging 34.3 points in the paint per game).

Opening up the paint begins with D’Mitrik Trice and Brad Davison, as the two rank first and second, respectively, on the team in attempted threes. Trice is 20-for-35 (57.1 percent) and Davison is 7-for-21 (33.3 percent) from three, but Trice failed to make a 3-point attempt in the loss to Virginia. If Trice can regain his rhythm against N.C. State, the Wolfpack will have trouble defending both the paint and the perimeter against Wisconsin’s offense.

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