Where: Littlejohn Coliseum, Clemson, SC
When: Wednesday, January 13th, 9:00 PM
Records: UNC 12-4, 1-1 ACC; Clemson 13-3, 1-1 ACC
Note: Tyler Zeller will miss tonight's game with a...wait for it...foot injury! Seriously, I think we might need to spend some time and money looking at the Smith Center floor or something. Zeller's absence puts a strain on UNC's interior depth but I am not sure if affects the overall manner in which this game might have unfolded. That and I already wrote the post below and I am not inclined to rewrite it. Consider this a slight disclaimer though not too much since most of what is written still stands.
For a team that does not play well on the road, traveling to Littlejohn is not really the best scenario. Couple that with the fact Clemson has good guard play and a potential All-ACC big man in Trevor Booker it is difficult to be optimistic. Still, the team appears to be mostly healthy at this point and it is entirely possible we see some carryover from the 2nd half of the Virginia Tech game where the Heels clamped down on defense and made perimeter shots when they needed them. However that was at home and so far this season we have seen very little evidence this team knows how to keep their crap together in front of a hostile crowd.
The other major problem is Clemson's press which stands to harass the turnover happy Heels like Tennessee fans chasing Lane Kiffin's car from Knoxville. Larry Drew and Dexter Strickland in particular are rather prone for mistakes when pressured heavily and the Tar Heel big men have trouble holding onto to basketball at times. One of the keys to breaking a press is get big man help in the middle of the backcourt. If the Tar Heel bigs cannot hold onto the basketball the press will do its job and give up easy baskets.
Clemson has plenty to play for here. The loss at Duke was tough and no doubt some of these Tiger players remember the last four games versus UNC which included an OT loss at home, a double OT loss in Chapel Hill, the ACC title game and a drubbing in Chapel Hill last season. Revenge is likely on their mind which means this is the perfect game for the Heels to buck up and show some toughness.
UNC 78 Clemson 72 Clemson Fan's Car 0