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ACC Semifinals: #1 UNC vs #4 Clemson

What: ACC Semifinals
Where: Greensboro Coliseum, Greensboro, NC
When: Saturday, March 12th, 1:00 PM
Records: UNC 25-6; Clemson 21-10
ACC Tournament Results: UNC: def. Miami 61-59; Clemson: def. BC 70-47

One of the toughest tasks in college basketball is to beat a team three times in one season. Regardless of who won the Clemson-Boston College game, UNC was facing that possibility. Clemson knocked off the Eagles rather handily pitting UNC against a team the Heels beat in two every tough games. There is no reason to believe this game won't also be a stiff challenge.

The question facing UNC is did they get all of...whatever that was in the first 33 minutes versus Miami...out of their systems. Or better yet, find some semblance of a zone offense would be extremely helpful. One change made in the Miami game that fueled the comeback was a move to a three guard set putting both Dexter Strickland and Leslie McDonald on the floor at the same time with Harrison Barnes at the four and with John Henson and Tyler Zeller rotating at the five. That lineup puts at least two shooters on the floor in Barnes and McDonald not to mention Kendall Marshall is shooting 38% from beyond the arc. At some point the "Marshall can't shoot" meme needs to die a quick and painless death. UNC has the ability to put shooters on the floor to bust a zone defense and I would not be surprised if Roy Williams is not a little more willing to try that lineup if the Heels' offense gets stagnated by a zone.

Against Clemson who has great guard play and tough interior players the Heels will need to be aggressive early. Taking a few smacks to the mouth like they did versus Miami won't cut it versus the Tigers. Clemson strikes me as a team that is on a bit of a mission to proved their NCAA Tournament credentials and take a shot at the ACC title. There is a good chance Clemson will try some zone but also be physical with the Tar Heel interior players. The Tigers' Jerai Grant was a combined 1-15 in the two games versus UNC this season. Chances are Grant will not have a third game like that. Likewise Demontez Stitt and Andre Young both shot poorly in the two match-ups against the Heels. I would expect both of them to play better in this one.

That basically means the Heels better bring it for forty minutes, find some early point production to keep the partisan crowd in it and make it as much a "home" game as possible.

UNC 68 Clemson 62