Saturday, March 15, 2008

North Carolina Clemson Preview

#1 North Carolina vs #3 Clemson 1:00 PM Raycom/ESPN
Previous Meetings: UNC (Away) 90-88 OT
The first time these two met the Tigers led nearly the entire game and thought they had it locked up with a 7 point lead and 2:30 to go, but Wayne Ellington hit a 3 as time expired to keep UNC undefeated at the time. Clemson did a very good job defending Tyler Hansbrough holding the junior to just 12 points.

UNC (Home) 103-93 2OT
Clemson had never won in Chapel Hill and it looked like with 3 minutes to go and an 11 point lead the Tigers would end their 52 game losing streak at North Carolina. But North Carolina made a furious comeback and overcame Clemson in 2OT. Hansbrough finished the game with 39 points and 13 rebounds.

Now onto the ACC Championship for the third meeting. The Tigers are making their first appearance on Sunday at the ACC Tournament since the early 60s. As aforementioned, Clemson has had a tough time against UNC in the state of North Carolina going 0-53 in Chapel and having just 1 win within the Tar Heel state against the Tar Heels all time. It has been said Roy Williams does not put a ton of stock in the ACC Tournament, but I think with his team in the finals he will come out with everything he has.

Keys to the Game:
1. Can Clemson contain Hansbrough?
They did the first time around with Mays and company hassling the junior all night. If Hansbrough is off, UNC loses their main weapon and safety valve on offense.
2. Tempo
Both of these teams like to play fast and furious. Which team's pressure will be more effective and get those easy break away baskets.
3. Free Throws
Last time out, North Carolina made 31-36 free throws. Clemson was 1-7. The Tigers cannot allow that kind of discrepancy again and must take the ball to the basket to draw fouls.

Clemson is coming off a big win over Duke and will have a lot of momentum. Anyone who is not a North Carolina fan will likely be rooting for the Tigers in Bobcat Arena. I have a feeling that Clemson had two really good chances to beat Carolina and failed on both. I don't think they have that chance a third time. I like North Carolina to win the ACC title.
Prediction: North Carolina

Season: 80-31 (73%)
ACC: 43-16 (73%)

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