Clemson Bids to End Historic Chapel Hill Nightmare

Clemson UNC

Doug Upstone

Tuesday, January 16, 2018 3:47 PM UTC

Tuesday, Jan. 16, 2018 3:47 PM UTC

Clemson and North Carolina are charter members of the ACC, dating to 1953. The Clemson basketball team has played in Chapel Hill 58 times -- and has yet win.

Tuesday College Basketball: Clemson vs. North Carolina

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Free NCAAB Pick: North Carolina -7.5Best Line Offered: Pinnacle

The 58 home victories without a loss in the series mark the longest home winning streak against an opponent in NCAA history. Princeton's 52-game home hex on Brown ended in 2003.

Clemson used to visit North Carolina annually, but with ACC expansion and the teams now in different divisions, the Tigers have been able to forget about it in certain years. But it is front and center again, the main storyline going into tonight's game.

Do These Tigers Have What it Takes?

In terms of talent, Clemson has a legitimate chance to win, sporting a 15-2 record (9-5 ATS). The Tigers' setbacks were to Temple 67-60 in the Charleston Classic championship early in the season, and at N.C. State five days ago by one point. Even UNC coach Roy Williams acknowledges this is very good Clemson club.

"Clemson is coming in having beaten some good teams," Williams said Monday. "Probably the best team Brad (Brownell) has had in a few years."

However, in years past the Tigers brought other very good teams to Chapel Hill and left without a win.

Clemson shoots the ball well at 48.2 percent, knocks down a consistent 37.4 percent from behind the arc and takes advantage of the charity stripe, where they connect on 76.1 percent. What has made this Tigers team different is the defensive commitment, holding opposing teams to 64.4 ppg on 40.2-percent accuracy. Even with all the superlatives, the NCAAB odds board has Clemson as a 7.5-point road underdog, with a total of 147.

Carolina Has the Confidence

Coming off a national championship season, this is not as good a North Carolina squad as last year at 14-4 (9-7-1 ATS), yet, they have several players who know how to win. The Tar Heels lost a great deal in the frontcourt, but leading scorer Luke Maye has more than done his part. Maye is also the team's leading rebounder at more than 10 a game and is part of the reason North Carolina has a +12 rebounding margin.

The backcourt has battled-tested players in Joel Berry II and Theo Pinson, who are accustomed to making big plays at crunch time. If the game is close late, hard to imagine these two and the Heels cracking when it counts.

Does Clemson Have Shot to Cover or Win?

For college basketball picks, this is about one team knowing and expecting to win and the other trying to convince itself it can. If you watched the two Big Monday games, Duke and Kansas were in serious trouble of losing with about 10 minutes remaining, yet both won and covered.

Upsets can happen at any time, but the blue-blood programs are hard to beat when it counts, which is why I think streak continues for the Heels. As far as the spread, North Carolina can match every facet of Clemson's game, has championship players and is 15-5 ATS at home since last season.

It will not be easy, but the Tar Heels triumph at home and cover the spread by making free throws late.

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