North Carolina (11-7, 1-4) vs. Clemson (13-5, 4-2)
Chapel Hill, N.C. -- Smith Center
Sunday, 6 p.m.
ESPNU (Carter Blackburn, Jay Williams)
“Everybody knows the history of it, but more than anything, I’m just anxious to see our guys respond. I’m not concerned with the streak at all. I’m more concerned with our guys and what we think and what we’re doing to get ready.” –
Clemson coach Brad Brownell
"They are going to guard us. They’re going to be very physical and do it the right way. Aggressive could be the same terminology, it’s not intended to mean anything negative. They play at a little slower pace but I think if they have a great advantage they’d take a fast break as well.” – UNC head coach Roy Williams
Season to Date: Clemson enters Sunday’s contest with a 13-5 (4-2 ACC) record. The Tigers opened the season with five consecutive wins, including victories over South Carolina and Temple, before splitting their next six games. After dropping a 56-41 decision at home against Florida State to open the ACC season at 1-1, Clemson upset then-No. 16 Duke, 72-59, despite trailing by six at halftime. Brad Brownell’s squad topped Virginia Tech and Wake Forest before losing 76-43 at No. 20 Pittsburgh on Tuesday.
McDaniels Manning Up: Junior wing K. J. McDaniels has been a force for Clemson, averaging team-highs in points (16.4) and rebounds (7.0). Despite standing 6-foot-6 and weighing 200 pounds, the Birmingham, Ala. native leads the ACC in blocked shots at 2.7 per game. McDaniels has turned in three games with 20+ points and 10+ rebounds this season, including a 24-point, 10-rebound effort in the upset over Duke.
Defensive Work: The key to Clemson’s 4-2 ACC start has been its suffocating defense. The Tigers lead the ACC in both field goal percentage defense (.372, 4th nationally) and 3-point field goal percentage defense (.263) and are tied with Florida State for the lead in blocked shots (6.4). Brownell’s squad ranks second nationally in effective field goal percentage (41.2), according to kenpom.com. If there’s an area for concern, it’s that Clemson is only forcing 10.7 turnovers per game, which ranks 12th in the conference.
Foul Check: One prominent issue for North Carolina has been an inability to get to the free throw line. That likely won’t change on Sunday as the Tigers rank in the top-10 nationally in fewest fouls per game (15.5). Brownell’s squad is on pace for its fewest fouls per game mark in the ACC era.
Grid Lock: Clemson represents the fourth opponent in five games for UNC that ranks 333rd or higher in adjusted tempo, according to kenpom.com. Adjusted tempo is an estimate of the number of possessions a team would play in a game against the average D-I tempo. The Tigers rank 348th out of 351 teams with a 60.6 mark. Miami, Syracuse and Virginia all rank in the bottom 20 of the standings.
Random Fact of the Day: Clemson is in search of its third ACC road win of the season on Sunday. While that’s a regular occurrence for North Carolina, the Tigers have accomplished that feat just eight times in 60 years of ACC basketball. The school record for most ACC road wins in a season (5) was set in 1986-87.
Last Meeting: The Tar Heels defeated the Tigers, 68-59, at Littlejohn Coliseum in Clemson on Feb. 28, 2013. Dexter Strickland led UNC with 16 points and Reggie Bullock added 12 points and nine rebounds. UNC held the Tigers below 40 percent shooting and scored 13 points off 15 turnovers.
Series History: UNC leads the overall series with Clemson, 127-20. The Tar Heels have won 15 of the last 16 meetings. UNC’s 56-0 record against the Tigers in Chapel Hill represents the longest streak in NCAA history by one program over another at home.
12 Rod Hall (6-1, 210, Jr.) - 9.8 ppg, 3.7 apg
20 Jordan Roper (5-11, 165, So.) - 9.0 ppg, 2.3 rpg
32 K.J. McDaniels (6-6, 200, Jr.) - 16.4 ppg, 7.0 rpg
5 Jaren Blossomgame (6-7, 215, Fr.) - 4.2 ppg, 4.5 rpg
35 Landry Nnoko (6-10, 250, So.) - 5.6 ppg, 6.6 rpg
21 Damarcus Harrison (6-4, 205, Jr.) - 6.3 ppg, 2.5 rpg
3 Adonis Filer (6-2, 190, So.) - 4.7 ppg, 1.4 apg
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(Photos by USA Today Sports)