Tigers concentrate on gameplan, not streak


by - Senior Writer -
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Photos: Sean Meyers/Icon SMI

CLEMSON – Brad BrownellBrad Brownell
Head Coach
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says you can’t be a basketball fan, or even a casual observer, and not know about the streak.

The streak, however, isn’t something that he mentions or dwells on.

The streak is, of course, the 0-for-55 streak that Clemson has when playing at the University of North Carolina. That number will get a lot of play from the talking heads on television both before, during and after the Tigers’ 4 p.m. Saturday contest at the Dean E. Smith Center, also known as the Dean Dome.

Brownell said that he knew about the streak long before he arrived at Clemson because of the way the streak is treated in the media.

“I was, because basically every time you turn on a Clemson-Carolina game, that is what they open with,” Brownell said Friday afternoon. “From spending time in North Carolina and watching games, you can't help but hear about it.”

He did say it’s not something worth mentioning to his team.

“No, it’s not anything we talk about with our players,” he said. “We just talk about the strengths or weaknesses of North Carolina, and there are not a lot of weaknesses. Right now, they have some guys hurt and they are only playing six or seven guys. You hope you can wear them down a little.”

Senior wingman Tanner SmithTanner Smith
Sr. Guard
#5 6-5, 210
Alpharetta, GA

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said the Dean Dome can be intimidating for a player the first time they play there.

“When you are growing up as a kid, every kid wants to go there,” Smith said. “You walk in and there are like 400 jerseys hanging in the rafters, and we’ve got four. It shows the history they have when you walk into a place like that, and you are hit with it immediately. When you get all of those people going in there and they get going on one of those runs, that place can get going in a hurry. It also doesn’t hurt that they have a bunch of talent.”

The schools played three close games in 2010-11, Brownell’s first season at Clemson. The Tar Heels won all three meetings, prevailing 75-65 in Chapel Hill, 64-62 in Clemson, and 92-87 in overtime in the ACC Tournament semifinals at the Greensboro Coliseum.
Smith said, however, that both teams have changed since last season.

“We were very close to them in the ACC tourney and we let one slip away,” he said. “We will see what happens this year. We have a new team and they have a new team. They have a couple of injuries they wish they didn’t have, and we have some young guys. We will go up there with the game plan we have set, and do the best we can.”

Smith said Brownell never mentions the streak.

“He doesn’t have to. We know about it,” he said. “But every year is a new opportunity to do. We will go up there with the mindset of getting a tough victory in a tough atmosphere. It’s not a coincidence we have played them pretty tough the past couple of years. It’s about execution – how we execute each play and keep them out of those runs they have.”






GAME SETUP

Site: Dean E. Smith Center (21,750)

Date: Saturday, February 18, 2012

City: Chapel Hill, NC

Time: 4:00 PM

Radio: Clemson Tiger Sports Properties (Pete Yanity - play-by-play, Tim Bourret - color)

TV: ESPN (Mike Patrick - play-by-play, Len Elmore - color)

Rankings: North Carolina No. 8 AP, No. 7 USA Today


SERIES NOTES

Overall: North Carolina leads 125-20

at Clemson: North Carolina leads 36-16

at Littlejohn: North Carolina leads 27-13

at North Carolina: North Carolina leads 55-0

at Neutral: North Carolina leads 34-4

First Meeting: North Carolina, 48-24, in 1925-26

Last Meeting: North Carolina, 92-87, in 2010-11

Streak: North Carolina has won three straight



QUICK FACTS

• Clemson and North Carolina will play the 146th game in series history Saturday, a history that has largely been in the Tar Heels’ favor. Clemson is seeking its first win in Chapel Hill.

• The two schools played three close games in 2010-11, Brad Brownell’s first season at Clemson. The Tar Heels won all three meetings, prevailing 75-65 in Chapel Hill, 64-62 in Clemson, and 92-87 in overtime in the ACC Tournament semifinals at the Greensboro Coliseum.

• Clemson enters the game fresh off a 60-48 upset of No. 22 Virginia at home on Tuesday, Feb. 14. The Tigers forced 17 UVA turnovers and shot 54 percent in the second half to pull away after the score was tied 24-24 at halftime.

• Clemson is now 12-1 when holding opponents to 50 points or less under Brownell, including 5-1 versus ACC teams.

• Saturday’s matchup features the ACC’s highest scoring team, as North Carolina averages 83.1 points per game, and the league’s second-best scoring defense in Clemson, who gives up just 59.8 points per game.

• The ACC’s two best ball-handlers will be on display Saturday. UNC’s Kendall Marshall leads the league with a 3.41-to-1 assist-to-turnover ratio, while Clemson senior Andre YoungAndre Young
Sr. Guard
#11 5-9, 175
Albany, GA

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is second with a 2.96-to-1 figure.

• Young has scored double figures in six of the last seven games and has had just five turnovers over that same time frame, a stretch of 239 minutes.

Milton JenningsMilton Jennings
Jr. Forward
#24 6-9, 225
Summerville, SC

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has been at his best against North Carolina, averaging 9.8 points per game in four contests with the Tar Heels. Last season, he posted a double-double at home and then scored 16 points and added seven boards in the semifinals of the ACC Tournament.

• Tanner Smith had four steals in the win over Virginia to reach 150 for his career, meaning he and fellow senior Young (178) are the first classmates at Clemson to both record at least 150 steals since Cliff Hammonds and James MaysJames Mays
Forward
# 0, 0
,

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in 2007-08.

Devin ColemanDevin Coleman
Fr. Guard
#15 6-2, 200
Philadelphia, PA

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is coming off back-to-back games in which he scored nine points off of four field goals. He had just two made field goals in the Tigers’ first 23 games of the season.

• Clemson announced it will hold an alumni game on Friday, Feb. 24, the weekend of the school’s 100th anniversary celebration for the NC State game.

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