Where: Dean Smith Center, Chapel Hill, NC
When: Wednesday, January 21st, 9:00 PM
Livestats: SCACC Hoops
Records: UNC 16-2, 2-2 ACC; Clemson 16-1, 2-1 ACC
The only question I have going into this one is whether this game will be a contiuation of the final 24 minutes of the Miami game? More specifically, does Ty Lawson "decide to pressure the ball" from tip-off and will Wayne Ellington stay on that ridiculous hot streak? Clemson defends well and has some capable three point shooters. Lawson should be able to dominate Demontez Stitt at the point. Where the Heels have to be careful is guarding the boards and prevent the Tigers from getting offensive rebounds. Clemson has a solid interior play and will most likely look to double Tyler Hansbrough which should open the door for Deon Thompson to get out of his mini-funk.
Then you have The Streak which we all became convinced after watching Clemson blow a double digit lead with three minutes left in regulation that if Clemson did not win that one, they would never win. For the Heels there is a bigger picture such as the complete absence of any margin of error in the ACC standings which necessitates pretty much running the table. With Duke and Wake Forest looking to keep their perches high in the rankings the fight for a #1 seed and a spot in Greensboro for the first weekend of the NCAA Tournament will be very tough. That makes this game ultra important in that regard.
Still, we are looking for more of what we saw against Miami on both ends of the floor. At this point that probably trumps all other concerns.
UNC 81 Clemson 70