Clemson was unable to snap its winless streak at North Carolina when the two teams met in Chapel Hill two weeks ago, but the Tigers will get an opportunity to end their recent struggles against UNC on Tuesday night at Littlejohn Coliseum.
Clemson has lost 10 consecutive games to the Tar Heels dating back to January of 2010, and North Carolina has won 20 of 21 games in the series dating back to the 2003-04 season.
Making matters more difficult for the Tigers (17-4, 6-3) is the fact that they have a quick turnaround after playing at Georgia Tech on Sunday night. However, UNC (16-6, 5-4) enters the matchup after suffering back-to-back losses to Virginia Tech and N.C. State.
“Obviously, it’s a difficult turnaround for us, a team we’ve had a hard time playing against lately, so we’ve got to figure some things out,” Clemson coach Brad Brownell said during Monday’s ACC teleconference.
Guard Gabe DeVoe played 40 minutes against the Yellow Jackets, while fellow guard Marcquise Reed played 38.
“Just in terms of preparation… We’ll do some film work, and we’ll walk through a few things, maybe shoot a little bit and talk about both offensive and defensive keys and what we need to do, meet a little bit, then have a game day shoot around to tighten some things up,” Brownell said.
Clemson could be without a key reserve against the Tar Heels as forward Mark Donnal was banged up near the end of the Georgia Tech game.
Donnal has played in all 21 games this season and is averaging four points and two rebounds in 13 minutes.
Brownell said he’s going to go under concussion protocol Monday.
Clemson also will be without Donte Grantham, who is out for the year with a torn ACL.
Still, Tar Heels coach Roy Williams expects a tough challenge from a Clemson team that is 5-1 in games decided by five points or less.
“If you look at the game when we played here, Donte probably had his worst game of the year. I think he made one field goal… He’s been a fantastic player for them and it’s a big loss for Brad, but he didn’t play that well against us,” Williams said. “Shelton (Mitchell) and Marcquise (Reed) and Gabe (DeVoe), those guys just made a bunch of shots and we didn’t do a very good job on Elijah (Thomas) inside. The only thing we did that game was just out-score them.”
Who: No. 19 North Carolina (16-6, 5-4 ACC) at No. 20 Clemson (17-4, 6-3)
When: 7 p.m. Tuesday
Where: Littlejohn Coliseum, Clemson
KenPom prediction: Clemson 75, North Carolina 72
TV: ESPN (Rece Davis, Jay Bilas, Gene Wojciechowski)
Radio: 93.1 FM (Don Munson, Tim Bourret)
Series: North Carolina leads 132-20
Streak: The Tar Heels have won 10 consecutive games and 20 out of 21 against Clemson