Previewing Clemson

North Carolina returns home after an embarrassing road loss to face Clemson, a team that has never won in Chapel Hill. Tuesday's tip-off at the Smith Center is set for 8 p.m. and will be televised by Raycom.

North Carolina (12-5, 2-1) vs. Clemson (13-4, 2-1)
Chapel Hill, N.C. -- Dean E. Smith Center
8:00 -- Raycom (Tim Brant, Dan Bonner)


"We always want to pressure the ball, but Carolina puts unbelievable pressure on your defense, too. They attack from the first five seconds of every possession, so it's very important to get back fast and establish your basic defense." – First-year Clemson head coach Brad Brownell

"I heard about it from the other side, having lived in North Carolina for 12 years. 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." – Brownell on "The Streak"

"I don't like extending the court all the time against certain teams where you create open-floor situations and they can play behind you. Look at tournament basketball, go back and look at the Final Four - there weren't a lot of 85-80 (scores). It was 61-59, 58-56 and 54-52. The game changes. If you are not used to playing that style of basketball during the season and you get caught in that in the ACC and NCAA tournaments, it's hard to win." – Brownell at his hiring press conference in April


Season to Date: Clemson enters Tuesday's contest with a 13-4 (2-1 ACC) record. After winning their first three games under new head coach Brad Brownell, the Tigers dropped four of their next six contests, including losses to Old Dominion (61-60), Michigan (69-61), South Carolina (64-60) and Florida State (75-69). Clemson has since responded by winning eight straight games, including victories over ACC opponents Miami (79-72) and Georgia Tech (87-62).

Like Uncle, Like Nephew: Horace Grant made a name for himself at Clemson in the late ‘80s with his effectiveness in the paint and his defensive tenacity. His nephew – and brother Harvey's son – Jerai Grant is following in those massive footsteps with solid post play in his senior season. The 6-foot-8, 230-pounder has scored in double figures in each of his last 10 games, averaging 15.5 points per contest during that stretch. His statistics are even more impressive over his past eight games – 16.6 points, 8.0 rebounds and a 70.5 percent field goal percentage. Grant is shooting 64.0 percent on the season and currently sits atop the Clemson record books with a career 61.4 percentage. His defensive work speaks for itself as he ranks 21st nationally with 2.6 blocks per game.

Stitt Back Healthy: Senior guard Demontez Stitt (13.5 ppg) injured his left knee in the closing minutes of Clemson's loss to Florida State on Dec. 12, and promptly had arthroscopic knee surgery the following day. Nine days and two missed games later, the Matthews, N.C. native returned to post eight points, six rebounds and four assists in a victory over the College of Charleston. Since the surgery, Stitt has connected on 53.1 percent of his field goal attempts (26-49), including a 58.3 mark from long range (14-24) and is averaging 12.7 points and 4.2 rebounds per game, as well as posting a 27-to-6 assist/turnover ratio during that stretch.

On the Defensive: Brownell prefers a more halfcourt style of play in comparison to former Tiger coach Oliver Purnell's full-court antics, and the stats bear those preferences out – Clemson currently leads the ACC in scoring defense with a 59.9 average, good for 27th nationally. The Tigers rank fifth in the ACC in field goal percentage defense (40.0) and have not allowed an opponent to break the 50 percent mark all season. Brownell's squad has forced 40 more turnovers than it has committed and blocked 49 more shots than its opponents.

Quite the Contrast, Part I: The last opponent for both of these teams was Georgia Tech, but the results spanned the spectrum. The Tigers drained 27 of their 39 field goal attempts, including 11-of-14 3-pointers, in posting a school-record 69.2 shooting percentage in ACC play. Clemson shot 85 percent (17-of-20) in the second half. North Carolina, on the other hand, shot a dreadful 27.6 percent (16-of-58) for the game and a 20.0 percent mark (5-of-25) in the second half.

Quite the Contrast, Part II: Clemson leads the ACC in field goal percentage (.517), 3-point field goal percentage (.474) and free throw shooting percentage (.841) in conference games this year. North Carolina ranks 12th in field goal percentage (35.4), 11th in 3-point field goal percentage (22.7) and 10th in free throw shooting percentage (65.8) in league play.

Last Meeting: Clemson defeated North Carolina, 83-64, on Jan. 13, 2010, at Littlejohn Coliseum. Trevor Booker scored 21 points to lead the Tigers and Stitt added 20 in a game that Clemson never trailed. The Tigers knocked down seven of their first 11 3-pointers in building a 35-12 advantage less than 10 minutes into the contest. Dexter Strickland (17 points) was the only Tar Heel to score in double figures.

Series History: North Carolina leads the all-time series against Clemson, 122-20. The Tar Heels have won 10 of the last 11 meetings. UNC is 54-0 against the Tigers in Chapel Hill and that winning streak stands as the longest in NCAA history for one team over another on its home court.

Projected Starters:
11 Andre Young (5-9, 175, Jr.) - 10.7 ppg, 3.0 apg
2 Demontez Stitt (6-2, 180, Sr.) - 13.5 ppg, 2.9 apg
5 Tanner Smith (6-5, 210, Jr.) - 8.9 ppg, 3.9 rpg
31 Devin Booker (6-8, 245, So.) - 8.3 ppg, 5.2 rpg
45 Jerai Grant (6-8, 230, Sr.) - 12.9 ppg, 6.9 rpg, 2.6 bpg

Top Reserves:
24 Milton Jennings (6-9, 225, So.) - 8.8 ppg, 5.5 rpg
21 Bryan Narcisse (6-6, 220, Jr.) - 2.9 ppg, 1.2 rpg
12 Cory Stanton (5-10, 175, Fr.) - 2.5 ppg, 1.2 apg

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