Chapel Hill, N.C. - Dean E. Smith Center
9 p.m., ESPN (Mike Patrick, Dick Vitale)
"[They are] a great club. We played them three times last year and they could have won all three games. Fortunately, we won all three games. They've had a great run. Wake Forest went in and played a heck of a basketball game against them on Saturday, so they'll be a wounded coming in here. And for us, we've just got to make sure that we come out with that emotion that we need to have." – UNC head coach Roy Williams
"They were definitely the losses that hurt the most last year. You know we had them there so many times, we let them off the hook." – Clemson guard Terrence Oglesby on the Tigers' three losses to North Carolina last season
"This year's team, we're talking about writing our own script. It's up to us how hard we work, how we prepare, how we work. We feel like we're a pretty good basketball team and we're going to have a chance to win every night. That's the approach we're taking at North Carolina. That's the great thing about playing in the best basketball league in America." – Clemson head coach Oliver Purnell
Season to Date: Clemson enters Wednesday night's contest with a 16-1 (2-1 ACC) record. The Tigers won their first 16 games of the season, including strong road wins at Illinois, Miami and South Carolina. Head coach Oliver Purnell's squad lost on Saturday to top-ranked Wake Forest in Clemson, shooting 33.8 percent from the floor in the defeat.
Booker Continuing to Emerge: Trevor Booker has improved with each passing season in the ACC, and now resides at the top of the league in field goal percent¬age (56.0 percent on 98-of-175) and blocked shots (49). The 6-foot-7, 240-pounder is averaging 15.1 points per outing, and his nine rebounds per game ranks second in the league.
Rolling Down the Rivers: K.C. Rivers is providing the perimeter option to Booker's post play this season, averaging 14.7 points and 6.5 rebounds per game. The senior wing enters the Wednesday's league battle needing just one win to become the winningest player in Clemson history. His 84 career victories are tied with Cliff Hammonds (2004-08) and Elden Campbell (1986-90). Rivers is also just 19 points away from reaching the 1500-point total for his career.
Hustle Stat-Stuffers: Purnell has built a defense known for its aggressive play at Clemson, and those efforts are evidence in the hustle stat rankings. The Tigers lead the ACC in blocked shots per game (7.1 per game) steals per game (10.0), turnover margin (plus-4.71) and in forcing turnovers (18.4 per game).
Surprising Stat: Clemson ranks dead-last in the conference in rebounding margin, owning a plus-1.6 advantage over its opponents. The Tigers have been outrebounded by an average of 7.3 boards per game in ACC play.
Sharing the Minutes: One thing making Rivers and Booker's numbers even more impressive is that due to a significant amount of depth on the Tigers' roster, both players are seeing less than 30 minutes of action per game. Nine different players are averaging a minimum of 13.2 minutes per outing, with each Tiger having attempted at least 50 shots on the season.
The Streak: North Carolina's 53-game winning streak over Clemson in Chapel Hill is the longest in NCAA history. The previous longest streak was Princeton's 52 straight home wins over Brown that lasted from 1929 until 2003. The Tar Heels have beaten the Tigers by double figures in 21 of the last 23 meetings in Chapel Hill (the exceptions were in 1997-98 and 2002-03).
Last Meeting: North Carolina defeated Clemson, 86-81, on March 16, 2008 in the ACC Tournament finals at Bobcats Arena in Charlotte, N.C. Wayne Ellington led the Tar Heels with 24 points and Tyler Hansbrough added 18 points and 11 rebounds as UNC won its second consecutive ACC Tournament championship and an ACC-record 17th overall.
Series History: The Tar Heels lead the all-time series with Clemson, 121-19. The Tar Heels have beaten the Tigers 33 times in the last 39 meetings (since the 1990-91 season). .
Projected Starters: 2 Demontez Stitt (6-2, 175, So.) – 8.6 ppg, 3.6 apg 22 Terrence Oglesby (6-2, 190, So.) - 12.9 ppg 1 K.C. Rivers (6-5, 215, Sr.) – 14.7 ppg, 6.5 rpg 35 Trevor Booker (6-7, 240, Jr.) - 15.1 ppg, 9.0 rpg 12 Raymond Sykes (6-9, 220, Sr.) – 8.2 ppg, 5.0 rpg Key Reserves: 15 David Potter (6-6, 205, Jr.) – 5.2 ppg 45 Jerai Grant (6-8, 220, So.) – 5.2 ppg, 3.5 rpg 11 Andre Young (5-9, 160, Fr.) – 3.9 ppg, 2.5 apg 5 Tanner Smith (6-5, 205, Fr.) – 3.7 ppg
Booker ... Stitt
Rivers ... Sykes
Oglesby ... Booker
(Photos courtesy AP)