On Tuesday night, the Clemson Tigers (14-7, 4-6 ACC) will face the No. 3 North Carolina Tar Heels (18-4, 10-1 ACC) at the Dean Smith Center in Chapel Hill, North Carolina.
The matchup marks the first matchup where the Tigers have already played their upcoming opponent. These teams first met earlier this season at Littlejohn Coliseum on Jan. 6, where the Tar Heels took a 65-55 away win over a Clemson team that had a poor night offensively.
With the least amount of points scored this season so far, the team shot an abysmal 5.6% from three-point range, making only one three-pointer out of 18 attempts that day. Despite this, the Tigers went into halftime tied at 34 before North Carolina shut head coach Brad Brownell’s squad down in the second frame.
Since the contest, the Tigers are 3-4 across their last seven games since. The Heels are 7-1, with their only loss being against Georgia Tech last Tuesday.
Opposing head coach Hubert Davis and his team are riding high, coming from a vital rivalry win over the Duke Blue Devils on Saturday night. Big man Armando Bacot led the charge for the Heels, scoring 25 points and ten rebounds.
He would also lead the team in scoring in their contest against Clemson, scoring 14 points and collecting 16 rebounds. It’s a big test for Tigers center PJ Hall, who will have a busy night on Tuesday with Bacot, who was on the Preseason ACC All-First Team with Hall at the beginning of the season.
It’s not only Bacot that Clemson needs to worry about. North Carolina also has the player with the most points per game in the ACC this season: guard R.J. Davis. Averaging 21.3 points per game this season, the senior can score points and keep his team in it at any point in a game.
Forward and Stanford transfer Harrison Ingram is another face that could send the Tigers back home with a loss. In his first Duke/North Carolina rivalry game, the junior had 21 points and 13 rebounds.
Clemson has the chance to play Tuesday’s game as a disruptor, however. With the Tar Heels being in the top spot in the ACC regular season standings with a two-game lead, a Tiger win away from home would not only be a resume booster for the NCAA Tournament but would make the ACC a little bit closer down the stretch.
For Hall, earning a win and beginning a streak is vitally important, and starting it in the arena of a top-3 opponent would help. With two losses in the last three games by just one point, the senior captain knows that the team is going to turn around, it is only a matter of when.
“Just keep fighting, man,” the center said after Saturday’s loss to Virginia. “Eventually, you have to figure it out and win. We are doing everything we can to do that.”
“It’s bound to happen. It’s going to flip,” he adds optimistically.
Tipoff is set for 7:00 p.m. and the game will be aired on ESPN on Tuesday night.