The Wisconsin Badgers (17-12) drew the number-9 seed in the South Regional and will square off against number-8 seeded North Carolina (18-10) in a first-round game Friday (6 p.m.) at Mackey Arena in West Lafayette, Indiana (CBS).
The winner will face either No. 1 Baylor (22-2) or No. 16 Hartford (15-8) on Sunday.
The Badgers are one of a record nine Big Ten teams to make the 68-team NCAA Tournament field.
The Tar Heels finished in a tie for sixth place in the Atlantic Coast Conference, then beat Notre Dame and Virginia Tech in the ACC Tournament before falling to second seeded Florida State 69-66 in the semifinals.
Wisconsin enters the tournament coming off of a 62-57 loss to Iowa in the quarterfinals of the Big Ten Tournament. They’ve won just two of their last eight games.
But those losses all came against teams in front of them in the Big Ten standings. The Badgers fell to Michigan, Illinois, Purdue and Iowa three times. Illinois won the Big Ten Tournament title Sunday and drew a number-one seed in the Midwest. Michigan won the regular season Big Ten crown and is the number-one seed in the East. Iowa is the number-two seed in the West and Purdue the number-four seed in the South.
After struggling for much of the season offensively, the Badgers have shown some signs of life. UW shot 36% or better from three-point distance in three of their last five regular season games, then combined to shoot 47.5% from distance in two Big Ten Tournament games.
But Wisconsin has struggled to rebound and gave up several critical offensive rebounds in their Big Ten Tournament loss to the Iowa Hawkeyes. Rebounding just happens to be a strength for North Carolina. In fact, the Tar Heels lead the nation in offensive rebounds with 15.9 per game.
The Badgers have now made the NCAA Tournament Field in 21 of the last 22 seasons.