Will the Streak Ever End?

The Clemson Tigers will enter tonight's game in Chapel Hill winners of 10 of their last 11 games, but that won't make much of a difference in the Dean Dome. The fact is that the Tigers have never won in Chapel Hill, and this year figures to be an uphill battle once again.

Another year, another loss in Chapel Hill, right?

Well if Larry Shyatt has anything to say about it, this year promises to be different for the Clemson Tigers.

"We are excited about getting up to Chapel Hill, and we've got a nice blend of young and old and hopefully we'll have the opportunity win a road game in the Atlantic Coast Conference," said Shyatt.

North Carolina has won the last three games against the Tigers, and 11 of the last 13 games overall. However, those numbers only begin to tell part of the story in the overall history between these two schools on the hardwood.

To say that the Tar Heels have dominated Clemson unlike any other school in the ACC would be an understatement. The Tigers are 13-32 against UNC in games played in Clemson, 0-48 in Chapel Hill, and 4-31 in games played at a neutral site.

Of course, the one glaring statistic is, "the streak." The fact remains that Clemson has never won a basketball game against North Carolina in Chapel Hill. Despite having the lead late in the game, or a lead in excess of 15 points, the Tigers have never been able to pull out a win.

Carolina's 48-game unbeaten mark against the Tigers is the second-longest home streak in NCAA history for a team against one opponent. Princeton has defeated Brown 52 times in a row since 1929. That is the longest streak in NCAA history, as well as the longest active streak.

For Larry Shyatt, that doesn't mean he's necessarily going to take a different approach to tonight's game.

"The only time there was a different approach was my first year when we had five seniors starting. That time, they felt like it was our time to win, but besides that, this team's personality and this team's focus has been where it really doesn't matter who or where, let's just try to get better," said Shyatt.

North Carolina comes into to tonight's contest sporting a 9-5 record overall, and 1-1 in conference play. The Tar Heels have been up and down this season, but they were able to notch early season wins over Kansas and Stanford.

Meanwhile, the Tigers have bolted out to a 10-1 record this season, including an impressive win over a traditional basketball powerhouse in the Cincinnati Bearcats.

"They have everybody else back, a year older, so they are going to be better," said UNC head coach Matt Doherty. "I think they are a better team than last year, and Larry's done a good job of coaching them. That was a big win they had against Cincinnati."

As far as the streak goes, Doherty has always tried to play it down as much as possible.

"The importance is this game, not the streak. The importance is our kids going out and playing and giving great effort, great intelligence, and playing together. Hopefully, we'll win and a by-product is that the streak will continue. But the streak is not the focus, I promise you. It's us playing well for 40 minutes against Clemson."

Clemson is led in scoring by senior point guard Edward Scott, who is averaging just over 18 points a contest and is making a strong big for a first team All-ACC honors. Starting center Sharrod Ford continues an impressive sophomore campaign by averaging close to 10 points and 8 boards a contest.

North Carolina freshman Rashad McCants leads the way for the Heels, posting 18.4 points per contest, while Jawad Williams leads the way on the boards with 6.3 per contest. Freshman Sean May was leading UNC in rebounding before suffering an injury that will keep him out of action for the next few weeks.

"I think we match up well with North Carolina," said Shyatt. "They are extremely athletic and quick and they have perhaps the best young talent in America. Statistically though, we are very similar."

We'll find out how similar tonight at 7 o'clock.

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