WHAT: Clemson vs. North Carolina
WHERE: Littlejohn Coliseum - Clemson, S.C.
WHEN: Thursday, February 28 (7:02 p.m.)
TV: ESPN (Mark Jones, Paul Biancardi)
The Tar Heels, winners of their last three, will arrive to Tigertown with a record of 19-8 [9-5 ACC].
“North Carolina has been playing great the last two weeks,” said Brad Brownell, who is 0-4 against UNC during his time at Clemson.
Though forward James Michael McAdoo leads the team with 14.7 points and 8.3 rebounds per game, the Tar Heels’ recent success can be attributed to playing smaller lineups. In their last five games, McAdoo and Reggie Bullock are the only players who are 6-7 or taller to average more than 10 minutes per contest.
“It allows them to stretch the court,” Brownell said of the smaller lineups. “Obviously, the 3-point shooting is different than what you’ve seen from other North Carolina teams. They’re shooting a lot more 3s and making a lot of 3s.”
As a team, UNC has made 197 3-pointers this season. The Tar Heels’ 37 percent clip from long-range is fourth-best in the ACC.
“I think the other thing the smaller lineup does, it allows two guys [Dexter] Strickland and [Marcus] Paige to really -- it’s almost like having two point guards on the floor,” Brownell said. “You have great pace with two different guys, so the ball’s coming at you unbelievably fast.”
Jordan Roper said that’s been a focus during practice -- preparing for the tempo.
“The scout team won’t worry about getting a rebound,” he said. “They’ll just have guys on the side throwing them the ball and we’ll have to get back on defense in transition. We just have to get back. They’re a fast team, fast pace.”
Based on what Brownell’s seen this season, UNC is as good as anybody at finishing in transition.
“Because Paige and Strickland can both bring it with speed, there’s two guys in transition to stop the ball. It’s hard,” Brownell said. “Bullock’s an incredible 3-point shooter. [P.J.] Hairston is a very good 3-point shooter, so you’ve got two wings out there that can knock shots down.”
North Carolina (19-8, 9-5 ACC)
G #5 Marcus Paige - 7.7 PPG, 2.9 RPG (6-5, 157)
G #1 Dexter Strickland - 7.7 PPG, 2.5 RPG (6-3, 185)
G #15 P.J. Hairston - 13.3 PPG, 4.0 RPG (6-5, 220)
F #35 Reggie Bullock - 14.1 PPG, 6.0 RPG (6-7, 205)
F #43 James Michael McAdoo - 14.7 PPG, 8.3 RPG (6-9, 230)
Clemson (13-13 5-9 ACC)
G #12 Rod Hall - 5.8 PPG, 2.5 RPG (5-11, 165)
G #20 Jordan Roper - 7.6 PPG, 1.2 RPG (6-4, 200)
F #32 K.J. McDaniels - 10.7 PPG, 4.9 RPG (6-6, 200)
F #24 Milton Jennings - 9.9 PPG, 6.4 RPG (6-9, 225)
C #31 Devin Booker - 12.4 PPG, 7.8 RPG (6-8, 250)