Grantham stresses calmness as Tigers fight history at UNC


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Grantham says the Tigers need to concentrate on building their resume, not the streak (Photo by Joshua S. Kelly, USAT)
Grantham says the Tigers need to concentrate on building their resume, not the streak (Photo by Joshua S. Kelly, USAT)

Donte Grantham says the most important piece of advice he can give to players who have never played at the Dean E. Smith Center at the University of North Carolina is to get all of the looking around done by the time the national anthem plays.

After that, it’s just basketball.

“It took me maybe after the national anthem after we played there my sophomore year,” Grantham said. “It took me until after that to settle down. I will tell them early to go out there and see everything and then settle down and have fun. It is a special place, but we came there to handle business and we will do that tomorrow.”

Grantham said one thing sets Carolina apart from other road venues.

“The history. Michael Jordan and the players that have played at Carolina. It's Carolina Blue,” he said. “History is a big part of this Carolina, especially for guys that haven't been there to go in there and see the banners with Vince Carter and the special players that are in the NBA. Once you get past that point, it's a regular game.”

No. 20/18 Clemson (15-2, 4-1 ACC) travels to Chapel Hill to take on No. 15/14 North Carolina (14-4, 2-2 ACC) Tuesday night at the Dean Dome. Tipoff is scheduled for 7:05 p.m.

Clemson is 20-131 all-time against North Carolina, and that includes a record of 0-58 at UNC. Of those 58 losses, 27 have come inside the Smith Center. North Carolina has an average margin of victory of 20.4 points per game in its 58 wins in Chapel Hill over the Tigers.

The Tigers have lost nine in a row to the Tar Heels in the all-time series, but this game will mark the first time since 2009-10 that either team will enter the game both ranked in the Top 25 of the AP Poll.

“We are going to go out there and try and get a win. It would be a big win for our program, obviously, and for our team to build our resume,” Grantham said. “We want to show teams we want to be the best team in the league. To be the best you have to beat the best and we have to go in there and compete at a high level and play hard.”

Brownell said despite the streak and history, it’s still basketball.

“I like the way our guys played Saturday and I hope we can have a similar performance Tuesday,” Brownell said. “North Carolina is a little different than they've been in the past. They are playing a smaller lineup at times, with Luke Maye at the five and then four perimeter players. I think they shoot the ball exceptionally well and still rebound it. Offensively for us we have to shoot the ball and rebound the ball well.”

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