UNC vs Clemson

Where: Dean Smith Center, Chapel Hill, NC
When: Sunday, February 10, 6:30 PM
TV: FSN
Records: UNC 21-2, 6-2 ACC; Clemson 17-5, 5-3 ACC

Which odds are worse: Clemson beating UNC in Chapel Hill or UNC losing two straight home game?  Unfortunately for Clemson they face both.

This is the most dangerous game of the season for UNC.  I am convinced the season turns on this game considering a loss would drop the Heels into a three way tie for second with Maryland and Clemson at 6-3.  A loss would hand Duke the ACC regular season and put UNC in a bad position in terms of future NCAA seeding.  So I would argue every game from this point out is a must win if UNC wants to be a #1 seed but more important than that I believe the Heels have to win today to avoid the possibility that this season will go spiraling out of control.  There is also the matter of the Clemson losing streak in Chapel Hill which really does not matter in the final equation but not something you would expect to see happen given how good this Tar Heel team is talent wise.

The question everyone is asking is concerning Ty Lawson and is availability.   Obviously this is paramount given the troubles UNC has at Clemson getting the inside game working versus the Tiger big men.  Possibly just as important is the relative absence of offensive production from Wayne Ellinton and Danny Green.  Ellington was huge last time with 36 points and Green has been that guy to hit key shots up until the last few games.  Getting these two guys on track is a huge deal whether Lawson plays or not as is stepping up the defensive intensity.

In my mind the odds of losing two straight at home are longer than Clemson breaking the streak.  I often talk about seeing how a team responds and see if that tells you something about their mettle or will.  This game is no different.  I expect Lawson to return but even if he does not I believe the rest of the team shows up.

UNC 90 Clemson 75

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61 Responses to UNC vs Clemson

  1. Josh Bowling says:

    I love your optimism THF. That’s why I tune in. We need some checks n balances to all of the “Tarheels have lost it ” bandwagon that sports journalists have jumped on.

  2. Josh Bowling says:

    Like I said earlier, even w/o Lawson, we had a chance against Duke, and that is with us shooting horribly and Duke shooting better than 5 Donald Williams’. Since Clemson poses a bigger threat inside, this MUST be Ellington & Green’s Day. Let The Boulevard of Broken Dreams not be 15-501.

  3. Josh Bowling says:

    Did anyone like my pun?

  4. 52BigGameJames says:

    don’t quit your day-job, lol…j/k

  5. Silent Sam says:

    I failed to detect a pun.

  6. Russell says:

    No detection here either. But I did like the Boulevard of Broken Dreams 15-501, Josh.

  7. Josh Bowling says:

    Green’s Day had a hit song called Boulevard of Broken Dreams. Although I don’t listen to current music (34 years old), I was aware of that one due to a younger brother. Man, what would I give to bring back the music of my youth! Journey, J Geils Band, Foreigner, REO Speedwagon, Boston, Talking Heads, and the R&B of Kool & the Gang, Earth Wind & Fire, Cameo, etc.

  8. Josh Bowling says:

    Is anyone aware of wether Lawson is a go or not?

  9. jackiemanuel says:

    not playing according to wral…

    😦

  10. Andy In Omaha says:

    Great first half, there UNC. Once again, perimeter defense is killing this team. Clemson is 7-11 from beyond the arc. Yes, 7-11. This isn’t something new, either. Seems like they let every single team they play stay in the game or beat them from three-point land. What gives?
    I’ve never seen a team with this much speed get beat so bad on screens. It just amazes me. Maybe Jackie Manuel needs to go back to Chapel Hill and teach them how to defend. I seem to remember him giving excellent shooters fits. Now, they don’t have anyone that can stop my two year old son from draining long range jumpers.
    Looks like the streak ends tonight……………

  11. Florida Tarheel says:

    Not looking good at halftime. Too many turnovers. “Q” not quick enough to drive and dish and his passes are suspect…….. The streak comes to an end tonight I’m afraid.

  12. Adam says:

    Did QT make that pass inside?

  13. John says:

    Maybe we should ask Matt Doherty to fly in from Dallas and deliver a “motivational” speech to this team.

    They just cut it to 2. Guess we can hold that call a few minutes.

    I sure do miss the overachieving 2005-2006 squad.

  14. C. Michael says:

    Win or lose in OT, no one can say this team lacks heart.

  15. John says:

    I didn’t mean to imply this team lacks heart. It certainly doesn’t lack talent, and has used it for 20-30 minutes–or less–several games this season.

  16. Tar Heel Fan says:

    I am getting too old for this stuff…and I am only in my early 30s

  17. John says:

    I’m in my late 30s, and getting over some type of nasty flu bug–just think how I feel. I hope that explains part of my surly tone. If the ‘Heel win tonight, I’m going to take it as a sign from The Creator, and if/when we ever do loose to Clemson in Pulpit Hill I’m packing up and taking the family out to the wilderness to await the End of Times.

  18. Jonathan Starsmore says:

    So, who at halftime thought about biscuits tomorrow morning? 😉

  19. Silent Sam says:

    Pretty daggum good comeback!

  20. Silent Sam says:

    THF – what about me? I’m class of ’67 . . .

  21. Tar Heel Fan says:

    I didn’t realize it was you….you changed screen names!

  22. nathan says:

    how about some Q!!! put it into overtime twice!!

  23. Andy In Omaha says:

    I have officially eaten crow about the streak.
    Please foregive me………………..

  24. MinnyTarHeelFan says:

    Leave it to hockey to preempt the Heels on FSN. Of course, I’m probably the only person in the State of Hockey that wants Tar Heels over hockey. Great comeback and hopefully this is the spark that I think off us have been waiting for the last few weeks.

  25. Triadboy says:

    With 36 seconds left in the 1st OT, everybody in Arizona went to Suns Basketball!!

  26. william says:

    I think that it is hard to remember 3 worse halves in Tar Heel history than the two against Duke on Wed. night and the first half tonite. Honestly, they were horrible the first 30 minutes tonight and it is perhaps, due to Clemson’s ineptness that the streak continues.

    The Heels sure make it hard to make a DVD of their games. Decent DVD’s cannot contain more than two hours and ten minutes of video and these games against Clemson keep going way over. Of course, the game against Duke is a perfect recording if anyone wants a DVD.

  27. 52BigGameJames says:

    agreed, but just think how good they can be when they click.

  28. 52BigGameJames says:

    they beat a DAMN good team tonight!

  29. william says:

    For those of you with Fox Sports Net and Direct TV, you should consider the sports package during basketball season. It’s not expensive and you get all the national feeds, which is important here in DC where we often get pre-empted for pro sports. You also can pick a HD broadcast out of your area if it isn’t offered in HD, or in full screen if your area, as in DC, is only offering a 4-3 aspect.

  30. william says:

    Q.T. became a man tonight.

  31. MinnyTarHeelFan says:

    Ahh, agreed, but I have such a great deal for cable. Plus, if I got DirecTV with the sports package, I would find myself single.:()

    william, agree on the worst three halves. I think we all feel this team has yet to “find” itself, and maybe it did tonight. Wayne hit some big shots. Danny was huge down the stretch and Q’s shot to force OT should give him tons of confidence. Plus, is anyone in the country playing better than Psycho T right now? WOW! What a MAN!

  32. william says:

    Q hit the critical tying free throws and made some big lay-ups in traffic. His getting playing time in February is all to the good for Carolina. I honestly thought that he was the bright spot Wednesday and he was even better Sunday.

  33. Stuart Crampton says:

    seriously 39 points from Hansbrough. But 20 turnovers for the team – 5 for Ellington and 5 for Thomas. Still, they turned it around and showed guts. To be honest though: In Lawson we trust. Without him there is no hope of Final Four (or even beating Duke)

  34. C. Michael says:

    Only 13 TO’s in the last 46 minutes, though, which is outstanding…

  35. william says:

    Clemson must be shell-shocked. With the possible exception of Duke in 1974, I don’t know if any opponent has ever lost the home and home series to Carolina in such an amazing and heartbreaking fashion.

    By the way, for your younger folks, in 1974, Carolina beat Duke in Durham, when Bobby Jones intercepted the ball at half court, of a tie game, went down court for a lay-up at the buzzer and kept on running into the locker room. The Duke game in Chapel Hill was really exciting that year as well.

  36. william says:

    How many assists for Q? Honestly, anything over 1-1 A/TO against Clemson is pretty good.

  37. C. Michael says:

    Q: 9 A and 5 TO

  38. 52BigGameJames says:

    I thought Marcus had a nice game tonight too, although he disappeared late.

  39. C. Michael says:

    Apparently Marcus twisted his ankle.

  40. 52BigGameJames says:

    A Lucas reporting team-mates happy for Q in locker room.

  41. Adam in Chicago says:

    Really William. I seem to remember a Carolina team recenlty sweeping Duke in the regular season, beating them at home, on senior night, sending JJ off the court for his last home game with a big L.

  42. C. Michael says:

    UNC split with Duke JJ’s senior season. Swept them last year.

  43. Adam in Chicago says:

    Okay, I know the Duke game was a heartbreaker, and probably the ugliest we’ve seen in a long time. But considering the point gaurd situation, I think they played well.
    And hell yes, we beat a GREAT team tonight, and considering that we haven’t beat them in regulation, they ought to be proud. But thank God we won, 53-0 against ClemPson at home.

  44. JAG Heel says:

    Hansbrough for President!! I’ve never seen any player give more constant effort and have a bigger will to win.

  45. Adam in Chicago says:

    Okay C Michael, I retract my earlier comment about the sweep. And now I feel stupid.

  46. 52BigGameJames says:

    would anyone else agree this was a character building game?

  47. nathan says:

    You gotta be happy for Q. He won the game for us tonight with his drive to the basket and his two clutch free throws. But there were a lot of heroes. And number one is Tyler with his steal that basically sealed the game, among his general stellar play. That was an amazing play, he was absolutely determined to take the ball away from Potter. And then Danny, who woke up at just the right moment at the end of regulation with a couple of steals and three pointers.

    I have never seen Carolina look so unsure of ourselves as they did for most of the first 37 minutes of the game. But you gotta hand it to Clemson, they looked like a top 10 team for those 37 minutes. So for us to turn it around the way we did…….for me this is one of the more satisfying wins we’ve had this year. Especially because the streak lives on !!

  48. C. Michael says:

    JAG, I’ve only seen one player with more desire, and he is a shoe, now! 😉

  49. Chris says:

    Not really. We’ve had too many of those already. I think we just need to readjust our opinion of the talent that we have on the team. We’re really not that talented. We could easily have 5 ACC losses. And that’s OK. I just think we need to lower our sights and accept that our talent level this year is not what we thought. Character building is not stooping so low as to have to win three games in similar fashion. And again, that’s OK. They are what they are. We’re in second place and that is very good. But it ain’t the national championship team that we thought it was, even with Tywon up to speed.

  50. william says:

    How many did we lose in conference last year? it is all about comparisons, I guess. Last year we lost five in conference, but that was more O.K., than this year’s projected record of between 12-4 and 14-2, because Duke lost 8 in conference. It is hard to see Carolina finishing worse than 13-3 at this point, which is historically a great record in the ACC.

    An for all those know-it-all’s who keep saying that Duke has wrapped up the Eastern seed. No, they have not. If Carolina wins in Durham and then wins in the ACC tournament, then Carolina is likely to get the number one seed in the East.

  51. Chris says:

    That would be great. All I’m saying is that I think that with what we’ve seen so far, we need to readjust our assesment of how much talent we really have. We really cannot play defense, and that becomes a huge problem when it comes to March.

  52. MinnyTarHeelFan says:

    Chris, I have to disagree with your assessment. On Wednesday Duke played about as well as they can, even according to Coach K(rybaby). We don’t have Lawson, Tyler misses a bunch of FTs and Green and Wayne don’t even show, yet we still had a good shot at winning that game. I agree we have major defensive issues, and I think we haven’t adjusted to getting everyone’s best game every time out (witness FSU, Duke, Ga Tech and both Clemson games). When we get Tywon back, I think we’re one of the most dangerous teams in the country. I watched G’town and L’ville on Sat. night, and while it was a great game, it was a snooze-fest and G’town looked horrible in the second half. Memphis is largely untested, UCLA lost to a short-handed UWash club today, etc., etc. I still think we’re easily in the top 5-8 teams in the country, if not better.

    Yes, we’re darn lucky to win tonight, but sometimes it’s better to be lucky than good, and we made the plays we needed to down the stretch, and that will only help us in March.

  53. william says:

    I see two major weaknesses: we seem to concede way too many uncontested three’s and we seem to let too many guards drive the lane(as well as beat our press). Is this effort related or is it something else?

  54. william says:

    Here’s a reason why I don’t gamble on sports(or really at all): UNC covered the spread tonight, which means that if you beat on Clemson you lost money, even though you basically had the game pegged exactly.

    http://www.point-spreads.com/college-basketball/021008-college-basketball-picks-clemson-tigers-vs-north-carolina-tar-heels.html

  55. william says:

    bet on, although beat on Clemson is what we did in the 2nd OT….

  56. Adam in Chicago says:

    I have to agree with Minny and would add that, under Roy, this team has historically struggled in the second round of conference play, but looks really good come ACC tournament time.
    I think our biggest issue tonight, barring the obvious lack of Lawson, was that half the roster forgot fundamentals. QT and Thompson seemed to forget that you’re supposed to CATCH the ball and THEN run with it, resulting in a LOT of turn overs. Stepheson literally turned his back on Rivers and left him wide open for a three. And I can’t for the life of me understand why Roy has Tyler playing at the 4 position when he’s so much more effective at the post.
    Yeah, we’re not as deep now without Frasor, but QT has improved these last few games, and that experience could be invaluable come tournament time.

  57. Tar Heel Fan says:

    “I see two major weaknesses: we seem to concede way too many uncontested three’s and we seem to let too many guards drive the lane(as well as beat our press). Is this effort related or is it something else?”

    I think it is because it sure as heck was not happening at the same level when they decided to comeback and win the game. Hammonds had 31 points but was scoreless after hitting the three with 1:20 left in regulation. I mean the Oglesby three with one second on the shot clock and Ellington in his face was such complete garbage I almost lost it. They played outstanding defense without Ginyard and I don’t want anyone to ever say Hansbrough cannot be drawn out to play defense on the perimeter because he most certainly can and handle it fine.

    Hopefully this is a spark. Only time and games will tell us that.

  58. Silent Sam says:

    Yep. Changed my screen name. Wanted something that sounded a little more UNCish.

  59. Josh Bowling says:

    As gloomy as things may seem, we have to commend UNC on this hard-fought win. Good job Heels! We are now a 21-2 team. We will get better through this and we will also get Ty & Ginyard healthy again. We will be dangerous come tournament time, regardless of ACC rank.

  60. william says:

    Carolina has not, in fact, historically struggled during the second half of conference play under Roy Williams. Where did you pull that from, Adam?

    First of all, Roy has only been here for five years, but in two of those four completed years, Carolina went 8-0 in the second half of conference play.

    How could that possibly be characterized as struggling? If so, your standards are a bit too high, I would submit.

  61. C. Michael says:

    For the record, in Roy’s 1st four years at UNC (not counting this year), UNC is 22-10 the first half of the ACC schedule, and 24-8 during the second half.

    Last year was the first year UNC had a worse record in the second half (6-2 and 5-3).

    The two years prior, UNC went 7-1 in the second half.

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