The Wisconsin Badgers (6-0) and North Carolina Tar Heels (5-1) are set to meet up in the ACC/Big Ten Challenge Wednesday night inside the Dean E. Smith Center in a game that tips off at 9:30 ET on ESPN.

Wisconsin Badgers at North Carolina Tar Heels

Wisconsin is looking to start a college basketball season with a 7-0 record for the first time since the 1993-94 campaign, coming off an impressive 73-56 win over the BYU Cougars as 7.5-point neutral-site favorites.  Badgers head coach Bo Ryan knows that his team will need to win the tempo battle in order to come out of Chapel Hill with a victory.  “Carolina is still Carolina,” Ryan stated in practice this week.  The Badgers have won their last six games versus members of the ACC, including three straight wins in this particular event.  Wisconsin is 4-0 ATS versus teams that hail from the ACC and the ‘over’ is 3-1 in those contests.

The Badgers are leading the nation in allowing just 39.2 points per game and allowing opponents to shooting just 30.5 percent from the field.  Wisconsin is the only Big Ten Conference team with six wins in this event, while the team is also 36-40 under Ryan’s watch versus ranked opponents, including an 11-33 mark outside of the Kohl Center.  Senior guard Jordan Taylor is one of three players averaging double-digits in scoring, while leading the team with 5.8 assists per game.

North Carolina got knocked out of the top spot in the polls after suffering a 90-80 defeat to the UNLV Rebels as eight-point neutral-site favorites on Nov. 26.  The Tar Heels went cold in the early parts of the second half, missing their first 10 shots, which ultimately led to the deflating loss.  “I’m sure they’re disappointed,” stated Tar Heels coach Roy Williams.  The program will look to bounce back and is 6-6 in this particular event, with all six victories coming under Williams’ watch over the past eight seasons.  North Carolina is 6-10 ATS in November games the past two-plus years.

The Tar Heels will be meeting the Badgers for just the second time, coming away with an 88-82 win in the 2005 NCAA Tournament East Regional championship game.  North Carolina has a good chance of coming away with a win tonight, expecting to have leading-scorer Harrison Barnes in the lineup despite suffering an ankle injury versus the Rebels last time out.  He’s averaging 17.3 points and 4.8 rebounds on the year.  Williams will look to guide his team to its 18th-straight win inside the Smith Center, a streak that stretches across three seasons.

Bettors will likely back the Badgers due to their 11-1 ATS mark versus ACC opponents, while the Tar Heels are just 25-31 ATS versus winning teams the last two-plus seasons.

Recommendation:  Wisconsin Badgers +8

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