Published February 18, 2012
| Sports Network
Chapel Hill, NC – The eighth-ranked North Carolina Tar Heels have an ACC championship in their sights and will continue their quest, as they welcome the Clemson Tigers to Chapel Hill for conference action at the Smith Center.
Roy Williams' squad has kept atop the ACC standings with back-to-back wins over Virginia and Miami. The 73-64 decision over the Hurricanes this week moved UNC to 9-2 in the ACC, tied with Florida State and Duke for first in the conference.
Brad Brownell's second season with the Tigers has had its ups and downs. A lack of consistency has resulted in a 13-12 overall mark. The ACC slate has been more daunting, with Clemson currently sitting at 5-6. The team does enter this contest following a pair of wins, including upsetting nationally-ranked Virginia on Tuesday, 60-48.
This series has been dominated by North Carolina, which has a 125-20 advantage in 145 previous meetings. The Tar Heels have won three straight meetings and have never lost to Clemson in Chapel Hill, sporting a perfect 55-0 record.
The Tigers used a strong second half to distance themselves from the defensive-minded Cavaliers and earn a big win this week. Clemson delivered on 53.8 percent from the floor after the break to earn the win. Andre Young and Tanner Smith tied for team-high in scoring with 13 points each. Devin Booker added 10 points to the cause.
A defensive team in nature, Clemson is at its best when it can dictate the pace of the game. The Tigers are limiting foes to just 59.8 ppg this year. It has been a necessity of sorts, as the team lacks real offensive punch at a modest 65.1 ppg. Young leads the team in scoring at 13.6 ppg, followed closely by Smith, who averages 11.3 ppg and tops the team in assists (4.0 apg). The two guards have combined for 90 of the team's 142 three-pointers to date. Booker (10.9 ppg. 6.8 rpg) headlines the play up front.
The Tar Heels are fueled by the nation's most dominant frontcourt, as North Carolina leads the country in scoring (83.1 ppg). Harrison Barnes is the star, with the ability to score from anywhere, averaging a team-best 17.7 ppg. Tyler Zeller is a close second at 15.7 ppg, while John Henson rounds things out with 14.0 ppg. Henson and Zeller make up quite the rebounding tandem as well. Henson leads the ACC with 10.3 rpg, followed closely by Zeller's 9.6 rpg (third in the ACC). Point guard Kendall Marshall doesn't spend much time finding his own shot (6.7 ppg), but rather gets others involved, leading the ACC and ranking second nationally in assists (9.6 apg).