MADISON — For the fourth time in the last five eligible seasons, the Wisconsin Badgers Men’s Basketball program is back in the NCAA tournament.
It’s been an incredible run for Wisconsin, who has only missed the big dance twice since the turn of the millennium: In 2018 when the team finished under .500 at 15-18, and last season because of the tournament’s cancellation. All other years, the Badgers have been involved in March Madness.
(9) Wisconsin vs. (8) North Carolina— Wisconsin Basketball (@BadgerMBB) March 14, 2021
Game set for Friday.#OnWisconsin
For their first round opponent, the 9th seed Badgers play 8th seed North Carolina in the South Region. Their game will be Friday, March 19. Winner will play either 1st seed Baylor or 16th seed Hartford Sunday.
The teams have played each other four times, with the Tar Heels leading the overall series over the Badgers 3 to 1.
- Their first game was an Elite Eight contest in the 2005 NCAA tournament. North Carolina won 88 to 82.
- The second game was part of the 2011 Big Ten-ACC Challenge. North Carolina won 60 to 57.
- The third game was a Sweet Sixteen contest in the 2015 NCAA tournament. Wisconsin won 79 to 72.
- Their most recent game was part of the 2016 Maui Invitational. North Carolina won 71 to 56.
Even with COVID-19 restrictions in place across the country, the tournament will be happening in a bubble format in Indianapolis. According to the NCAA, teams will have wristbands to help with contact tracing and will likely remove teams from the first-round should they experience an outbreak or lapse in protocols.
Perhaps the most interesting thing about tournament rules this year is that the bracket and seeds are final. If a team is unable to participate, the conference may designate a replacement team, as determined by its AQ policy already submitted.
The replacement team will take the seed of the team it is replacing and play in that role. All players and team personnel must test negative for seven days in-a-row.
Once the tournament begins on March 18, no replacement teams will be allowed in and should a team run into COVID issues, their opponent would simply advance to the next round.