The North Carolina Tar Heels have won four straight games in the ACC, but they have a tough matchup coming up on Saturday evening. North Carolina will travel to Clemson in hopes of staying in first place in the ACC race, but this won’t be an easy task. The Clemson Tigers are in the middle of the conference pack, but a win in this game could help their chances of making the NCAA Tournament. This is the first and only meeting between these two schools this season.
North Carolina comes into this game as the fifth-ranked team in the country and has a real shot at a number 1 seed. The Tar Heels have won four straight conference games, and bring a 13-2 conference record into this game. Clemson has won two straight games, but are still under the .500 mark in conference play. The Tigers are just 7-8 in ACC games and are 17-11 overall. North Carolina is -5.5 over Clemson in this game.
Clemson Needs Quadrant 1 Win
The Clemson Tigers are firmly on the bubble at the moment, but a win over North Carolina would be a huge boost to their resume. Beating North Carolina at home would be a quality quadrant 1 victory, and would also give Clemson some momentum heading into the final week of the regular season. The Tigers are one of the best defensive teams in the country this season, allowing just 63.8 points per game. Shutting down the North Carolina offense is easier said than done, but it is the Tigers’ best hope in this game.
Clemson comes into this game averaging just over 69 points per game on offense, and have just three players that are averaging double-figures. The Tigers do have one of the best scorers in the ACC though in guard Marcquise Reed. Reed is pouring in 19.0 points per game this season while shooting better than 36 percent from the three-point line. Forward Elijah Thomas has chipped in with 13.1 points and 7.8 rebounds per game this season, and Clemson is going to need both players to play well if they are going to have any chance.
North Carolina Explosive on Offense
While Clemson struggles to score points this season, the North Carolina Tar Heels are one of the most explosive teams in the country. North Carolina is averaging 87.3 points per game this season, and are knocking down better than 37 percent of their three-point attempts. Head coach Roy Williams allows his team to play at a fast pace, and this team takes full advantage. The Tar Heels are allowing 73.1 points per game this season, but their offense is good enough to make up for it.
Senior forward Luke Maye has been playing great of late for the Tar Heels. Maye is averaging 14.9 points and 10.0 assists per game, but he also has plenty of help. Cameron Johnson and Coby White have combined to score more than 30 points per game this season, and can both knock down three-pointers with consistency. The Duke Blue Devils have gotten all of the hype for much of the season, but the North Carolina roster is loaded with future NBA stars as well.
Tar Heels Pull Off Road Win
Winning on the road in the Atlantic Coast Conference is never an easy task, and Clemson desperately needs this victory. The Tigers play terrific defense this season, but they just don’t score enough points to consistently win games. North Carolina will push the tempo on Saturday, and they just have too much talent for Clemson. Bet the North Carolina Tar Heels -5.5 over the Clemson Tigers.