Brownell well aware of "the streak"

In football, a midseason bye week can be a welcome reprieve.

In basketball, not so much -- particularly when a team is hot.

"When you're playing like this, you just want to keep playing," Clemson coach Brad Brownell said following his team's 87-62 romp over Georgia Tech last Wednesday night.

Instead, Clemson had its only open weekend of the season before traveling to Chapel Hill, N.C., to face North Carolina on Jan. 18. Once there, the Tigers will attempt to overcome quite a psychological hurdle: Clemson is 0-54 all-time in Chapel Hill, the longest losing streak on an opponent's home court in NCAA history.

Brownell is in his first season at Clemson, but after an extensive stint at UNC Wilmington, he is quite familiar with Clemson's futility in Chapel Hill.

"I heard about it (Clemson's losing streak) from the other side having lived in North Carolina for 12 years," Brownell said. "But our players haven't been part of it for very long. We're just playing the kids who are in the North Carolina uniforms this year, and that's all we're worried about."

This much is certain -- Brownell's team will enter the game against the Tar Heels on a roll.

The Tigers were riding an eight-game winning streak and were coming off one of the best shooting performances in school history. Clemson shot 85 percent in the second half of the win over Georgia Tech, including a 9-for-9 effort from 3-point range.

Clemson's eight-game winning streak is the longest active winning string in the ACC through Jan. 16. The eight-game streak is the longest for the program since the 2008-09 team opened the season with 16 consecutive victories.

* Football standout-turned-basketball player DeAndre Hopkins got his first action in the Tigers' romp over Georgia Tech on Jan. 12. Hopkins, who joined the team a few days after capping a record-setting freshman season on the football field, played the final two minutes against Georgia Tech, recording a block and a turnover. Hopkins, a 6-foot-2 guard, is just the fifth player in school history to play both sports.

* Clemson held each of its first 17 opponents this season to under 50 percent shooting. That was the fourth-longest such streak in school history.

"Everything starts with defense," junior guard Andre Young said. "We've really bought into that idea."

BY THE NUMBERS: 54 -- Consecutive losses for Clemson against North Carolina in games played in Chapel Hill, N.C. The futility in Chapel Hill dates back to 1924 for the Tigers, who have been outscored by an average margin of 18 points in their last 10 visits to the Dean E. Smith Center.

QUOTE TO NOTE: "Our staff is in there fighting over who the shooting coach was tonight." -- Clemson coach Brad Brownell, after his team shot 69.2 percent -- its best-ever percentage in an ACC game -- in a win over Georgia Tech on Jan. 12.

KEY MATCHUPS: Matchups in the paint will loom large in this one. Senior forward Jerai Grant is playing the best ball of his career, and junior forward Devin Booker is averaging 11 points per game in ACC play, but they haven't faced a challenge as will be posed by the Tar Heels' towering frontline of Tyler Zeller and John Henson.

Winning the battle down low is imperative to Clemson's success -- in last year's win over UNC at Clemson, the Tigers' key to victory was limiting the UNC frontcourt combo of Deon Thompson and Ed Davis to a combined eight points and nine rebounds. It'll take a similar effort for the Tigers to finally win in Chapel Hill.

FUTURES MARKET: Coach Brad Brownell picked up his third verbal commitment for the Class of 2011 on Jan. 14 when Kevin McDaniels of Birmingham, Ala., said he would join the program after visiting during Clemson's win over Miami on Jan. 8.

McDaniels is a 6-foot-5 swingman at Central Park Christian School. He joins earlier commitments T.J. Sapp, a 6-3 guard from Fort Lauderdale Fla., and 6-7 forward Bernard Sullivan of Charlotte, N.C. Top Stories