Preview: UNC vs. Clemson

If you had asked The Rafters about tonight’s game last week, we would have said that UNC improbable streak would continue. You do know about the streak, right? You know, the one in which Clemson has never won in Chapel Hill. Never. UNC is 54-0 against the Tigers at home. Even in the Dougherty era we managed to knock off Clemson every.

But after that debacle in Atlanta Sunday, it’s hard to tell how the Heels are going to come out. On the good side, Adam Lucas points out today that UNC is 4-0 in Sunday/Tuesday turnarounds under Roy Williams. On the bad side, UNC just got blown out by 20 to a team Clemson beat by 25 just last Wednesday. Yikes.

  • The Tigers have been led by senior forward Jerai Grant, right. At 6’8″ he leads the team in rebounds with 6.9 per game, and has also led the team in scoring eight games and is averaging 12.9 ppg.
  • Leading the team in scoring is another senior who seems like he’s been around forever. North Carolina native Demontez Stitt is putting in 13.5 ppg and leading the offense from the point guard position. Stitt missed a couple games earlier in the season but has scored at least 16 in the past three.
  • UNC scores seven more points, pulls down eight more rebounds and dishes out three more assists per game than Clemson. The Tiger do shoot  a better percentage from the floor, although UNC numbers were obviously hurt after Tech.
  • To go with Grant, Clemson also has Trevor Booker’s younger brother Devin in the blocks. Devin is one of six Tigers to score at least eight ppg. Guards Andre Young and Tanner Smith can also put in points.
  • Against Tech, UNC seemed to forget about its own inside presences and instead forced silly passes and took bad shots. This needs to be righted.

UNC needs to come out strong early. In all three of the Heels’ ACC showdowns the starters have gotten the Heels off to a poor start and the second team has had to come out to keep the games close. While UNC was able to comeback against Va. Tech and Virginia, this didn’t work out well in Atlanta. The Heels can’t depend on second half comebacks and jump shots. Points in the paint early. That’s what we’re talking about.

Prediction: UNC 76, Clemson 70