College Basketball: North Carolina at Clemson – Tarheels Favored
The fourth-ranked Tar Heels and the 19th-ranked Tigers will both be looking to rebound from disappointing losses Wednesday when they meet at Littlejohn Coliseum.
Oddsmakers have made North Carolina -2.5 point spread favorites (College Basketball Odds) for todays game, the over/under has
been set at 155 total points (View College Basketball Sports Books).
North Carolina (15-2, 2-1 Atlantic Coast Conference) was ranked No. 1 before falling 94-88 at Virginia Tech on Saturday, ending a 12-game winning streak. Just a little earlier that day, Clemson’s reign as the last unbeaten team in Division I ended with a 92-87 loss at Maryland.
"In the ACC, it doesn’t matter who it is or where it is, you always have to play hard," said North Carolina’s Tyler Hansbrough, who had 19 points and 15 rebounds against the Hokies.
Clemson coach Oliver Purnell said that the end of the winning streak wasn’t a relief for his Tigers (17-1, 3-1).
"I don’t think so," he said. "I think they’re disappointed they didn’t get that win, disappointed the streak’s not still going. Now, it’s important we channel that disappointment into work."
Despite the loss, Clemson has still managed to generate plenty of excitement among its fans. The Tigers’ 17-0 start matched the best in school history, established by the 1986-87 team led by NBA standout Horace Grant.
Clemson students set up 145 tents outside the Littlejohn Coliseum ticket office Monday night to get seats for Wednesday’s matchup.
"There’s a lot of excitement right now," Purnell said.
James Mays had 22 points and 15 rebounds against the Terrapins, and K.C. Rivers – who leads the Tigers with 15.2 points per game – added 18. Vernon Hamilton also had 15 to pass the 1,000-point milestone for his career.
"Losing is not a great feeling," said forward Trevor Booker, who had 14 points. "Some people might think we are overrated now. We didn’t play well on defense and struggled a lot. That’s what killed us."
Clemson entered the game allowing just 61.3 points per game but faltered somewhat on the defensive end.
"As far as we’re concerned, the stats tell the story," Purnell said. "Defensively, We just weren’t very good. I give Maryland credit for knocking down the shots, but we gave them too many lay-ups and really didn’t guard them on the half court."
Clemson’s defense will face another tough test against the Tar Heels, who rank second in the country with 88.8 points per game. North Carolina trailed by 22 points against the Hokies before its explosive offense rallied the Tar Heels within three points with 16.9 seconds left.
"We didn’t play very well," North Carolina coach Roy Williams said. "They outplayed up, outcoached us and it kind of brought us back to reality."
North Carolina has won five straight against Clemson since consecutive losses on Feb. 15, 2003 and Jan. 31, 2004, both at Littlejohn. The Tar Heels are 9-1 against the Tigers when both teams are ranked.
North Carolina leads the all-time series 117-19.
by: Marc Young – theSpread.com – Email Us
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