Previewing Clemson

Clemson comes to North Carolina on Saturday, and while both teams would rather The Streak not be the focal point, it's hard to ignore the fact that the Tigers sport an infamous 0-55 record in Chapel Hill. Tip-off at the Smith Center is set for 4 p.m. and will be televised by ESPN.

North Carolina (22-4, 9-2) vs. Clemson (13-12, 5-6)
Chapel Hill, N.C. -- Dean E. Smith Center
4 p.m. -- ESPN (Mike Patrick, Len Elmore)


"You feel a little snake bit. In all honesty, some of the kids have executed things very well to put ourselves in a position to make a play, but we haven't closed it, we haven't made the shot or made the free throws, so we've let some teams off the hook a little bit." – Clemson head coach Brad Brownell on his team losing five ACC games by four points or less


Season to Date: Clemson enters Saturday's contest with a 13-12 (5-6 ACC) record. The Tigers struggled early this season in their home state, dropping home games to College of Charleston, Coastal Carolina and South Carolina, before continuing those woes on the road with losses to UTEP and Hawaii. Head coach Brad Brownell's squad stunned the ACC world with a 20-point blowout of Florida State to open its conference schedule, but it would lose six of its next eight league games. Clemson has won two straight in impressive fashion, throttling Wake Forest, 78-58, before upsetting Virginia, 60-48, on Tuesday.

Young No More: After spending his first three seasons in Demontez Stitt's backcourt shadow, senior Andre Young has taken over the offensive reigns for Brownell and played a remarkably consistent brand of basketball. The Albany, Ga. native leads the Tigers in scoring (13.6 ppg), free throw percentage (.840) and minutes (34.6), while also ranking second in the ACC with a 2.96:1 assist-turnover ratio. Young has scored in double figures in six of his last seven games, upping his ACC play average to 14.5 points, and has only committed five turnovers in that time frame. He also leads the ACC with 46 steals (1.84).

Defensive Yin and Yang: A quick scan of the Clemson official game notes would suggest that the Tigers have done its best work defensively, citing a top-30 national ranking in scoring defense (59.8) and only 106 total points allowed in the past two outings. But those numbers are due more to pace than defensive efficiency. Clemson ranks 12th in ACC play in field goal percentage defense (44.9) and 11th in 3-point field goal percentage defense (.370). The Tigers are first in forced turnovers (15.3) and steals (8.5) and fifth in blocked shots (4.2), indicating that patience is key when playing the boys in orange.

Guard Duo Protecting the Ball: Young's not the only starting guard with an ability to take care of the ball. Teammate Tanner Smith (12.0 ppg, 5.7 rpg) boasts a 1.91:1 assist-turnover ratio (101-53), thereby giving the Tigers two players ranked in the ACC's top five in A/T. Their combined ratio is 2.27 and its only gotten better in league play with a 2.39:1 mark (74-31).

Rookies Stepping Up: Freshman guard Devin Coleman scored just nine total points in Clemson's first 23 games, but has 18 points over his last two outings on 8-of-12 shooting in 37 minutes of action. Fellow rookie K.J. McDaniels delivered a strong performance in his first career start at Virginia Tech on Feb. 4, scoring 14 points on 7-of-11 shooting with five blocks and five rebounds.

Death by Charity: Clemson has lost four games this season in which it had free throws to tie with score in the final 15 seconds. The Tigers rank 12th in ACC play in free throw percentage (.663).

Random Fact of the Day: Clemson is 10-3 when senior forward Bryan Narcisse (5-of-21 on 3s in '11-‘12) has connected on a 3-pointer during his career, including a 4-1 mark this season.

Last Meeting: North Carolina defeated Clemson, 92-87, in overtime during ACC Tournament semifinal action on Mar. 13, 2011. Harrison Barnes set an AC Tournament freshman record by scoring a career-high 40 points. UNC trailed by as many as 14 points, including a 10-point halftime deficit, before rallying for the win.

Series History: North Carolina leads the all-time series with Clemson, 125-20. The Tar Heels own a 55-0 record over the Tigers in Chapel Hill, a NCAA record for consecutive wins over an opponent on a home court.

Projected Starters:
11 Andre Young (5-9, 170, Sr.) - 13.6 ppg, 3.3 apg
5 Tanner Smith (6-5, 210, Sr.) - 11.3 ppg, 5.2 rpg, 4.0 apg
21 Bryan Narcisse (6-6, 225, Sr.) - 3.0 ppg, 2.3 rpg
24 Milton Jennings (6-9, 225, Jr.) - 9.3 ppg, 5.5 rpg
31 Devin Booker (6-8, 245, Jr.) - 10.9 ppg, 6.8 rpg

Top Reserves:
10 Catalin Baciu (7-2, 255, Sr.) - 4.3 ppg, 2.2 rpg
4 Rod Hall (6-1, 210, Fr.) - 4.2 ppg, 1.3 apg
1 T.J. Sapp (6-2, 180, Fr.) - 3.9 ppg, 1.7 rpg

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(Photos by US Presswire)

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