CLEMSON, S.C. (AP) -For a quick recovery from its first defeat of the season, No. 10 Clemson will need a win at North Carolina - where the Tigers are 0-53.
It is the worst such streak in college basketball.
The Tigers, whose 16-0 start ended Saturday with a 78-68 home loss to new No. 1 Wake Forest, will play the Tar Heels Wednesday night.
``It's a tough place for us to go bounce back,'' Clemson coach Oliver Purnell said Monday. ``But it is a good opportunity for us as well to show we're a good team. We're resilient.''
That's much easier said than done.
The Tigers (16-1, 2-1 Atlantic Coast Conference) have lost close ones and blowouts. They've lost to Tar Heels greats like Michael Jordan and Phil Ford, and lost to those clubs even the bluest Carolina fans hope to forget.
the Tigers never taste victory and eternally trudge home defeated from Tobacco Road. After last season, you couldn't blame Clemson fans for buying into it.
Then, the Tigers led by 15 points and looked well on the way toward exorcising five decades of loss. Instead, the Tar Heels rallied for a double overtime, 103-93 victory.
That disappointment came sandwiched between two other close calls, North Carolina's 90-88 OT victory at Clemson and an 86-81 Tar Heel win in the Atlantic Coast Conference tournament title game.
Jinxed? Not this group, Purnell says.
``We don't want to address any curse because I don't believe in any curse,'' he said flatly. ``It's not about the 50-something we haven't won. It's about the three we didn't get last year.''
Clemson remained 10th in the rankings despite losing its only game of the week. The team appears every bit as strong as a season ago, when it reached the NCAA tournament for the first time in 10 years, won it's most ACC games (10) since 1990 and reached the ACC tournament finals for the first time in 46 years.
Clemson's rotation, led by shot-blocking forward Trevor Booker and sweet shooting swing man K.C. Rivers, goes 10 deep, all committed to Purnell's frenetic defensive style.
The Tigers, though, ran up against a defense every bit as tough as them in Wake Forest.
The Demon Deacons held Clemson without a field goal for a nearly seven minute stretch between halves. The Tigers missed 13 straight shots and fell behind by 14 points.
Still, Purnell's team rallied to 61-60 in the final minutes.
``We could've played better,'' he said. ``We didn't shoot the ball well from either the field or the free throw line, and yet we could've won it with five (minutes) to go.''
The Tigers got together Sunday to watch Wake Forest film, shoot foul shots and talk about the No. 5 Tar Heels.
``I sensed that they were OK,'' Purnell said. ``I sensed that they were wanting to hear what happened and wanted a path to run on to kind of move forward.''
Rivers, a senior captain, vows the players will be ready to again go sneaker to sneaker at the Smith Center with the fifth-ranked Tar Heels.
``It is the premiere school that has all the accolades as far as the guys that have been through there,'' Rivers said. ``But what's on their basketball court is 10 players, five of theirs and five of ours. We've got to go out there and know we can play with them.''
Purnell acknowledged that the long losing streak may have crept into his players' heads during crunch time a year ago and opened the way for the Tar Heel comeback.
roup. After all, Clemson didn't lose consecutive games in the conference last season, a sign the players understood what it took to get back to winning.
``We're talking about it as an opportunity,'' Purnell said. ``Not following some script that was written out before they were born.''

Recent NCAAB Discussions

NCAAB Headlines

More inNCAAB News  

NCAAB Top Stories

Thumbnail Longhorns mired in extended slump After starting the season ranked No. 21 in the country, Texas has lost three in a row. Will Shaka Smart’s troops be able to reverse course against Alabama?
Thumbnail Edwardsville vs. Indiana Pick Will No. 13 Indiana have a letdown showing when it plays host to SIU-Edwardsville tonight at 7PM ET?
Thumbnail Cincinnati vs. Iowa St. Pick Will No. 19 Iowa State stay perfect at home when it plays host to Cincinnati tonight at 9PM ET?
Thumbnail Saint Mary's vs. Stanford Prediction Will Stanford pull off the upset or at least cover the spread when it hosts Saint Mary’s at 11:00PM ET tonight?
Thumbnail Ohio State vs. Virginia Prediction Will tonight's non-conference tilt between Ohio State and Virginia turn into a defensive struggle at 9:15PM ET tonight?
More inNCAAB Articles  

NCAAB Team Pages