Wisconsin routs UNC, Williams falls to 29-1 in NCAA openers

Full Screen
1 / 8

Copyright 2021 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.

North Carolina head coach Roy Williams reacts after a turnover during the second half of a first-round game against Wisconsin in the NCAA men's college basketball tournament, Friday, March 19, 2021, at Mackey Arena in West Lafayette, Ind. (AP Photo/Robert Franklin)

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. – North Carolina coach Roy Williams lost his first opening-round NCAA Tournament game in 30 tries as ninth-seeded Wisconsin blew out his eighth-seeded Tar Heels 85-62 on Friday night.

“I thought (Wisconsin) played very well and Roy Williams didn’t coach very well,” Williams said.

Brad Davison scored 29 points and D’Mitrik Trice added 21 points for Wisconsin.

The Badgers (18-12) had lost four of five entering the tournament, but they remained confident because the losses were against ranked teams Iowa, Illinois and Purdue, and all were by five points or fewer.

“Obviously, our league has been phenomenal and it was such a grind to go through, specifically the schedule we had down the stretch,” Wisconsin coach Greg Gard said. “The schedule maker must not like me or us. But it prepared us and it tested us as we came down the stretch of the Big Ten, and thankfully it prepared us for this, and being ready to take steps forward at the end of the year.”

Wisconsin negated North Carolina's size advantage by draining 13 of 27 3-pointers. The Badgers advanced to play the South Region's top seed, Baylor, on Sunday.

The Badgers entered with a 4-42 record at Mackey Arena, home of Big Ten rival Purdue. They looked right at home on Friday, shooting 51% from the field overall and 57% in the second half.

Although Williams had won all 14 of his first-round games with Kansas and his first 15 with UNC, the loss by this uneven Tar Heels team was hardly a shock. North Carolina never won more than three straight games all season.