North Carolina will try to continue its recent surge in the ACC standings when the Tar Heels take their three-game win streak to Clemson on Thursday night. The Tar Heels have climbed into a tie for third in the conference with three straight double-digit wins, including a 76-65 home victory over rival N.C. State on Saturday.
The Tigers, on the other hand, are fading. They've lost two straight and five of six - though they nearly upset then-No. 2 Miami during that stretch - and are sitting eighth in the ACC. North Carolina has won four straight meetings and 14 of the last 15, and leads the all-time series 126-20.
TV: 7 p.m. ET, ESPN.
ABOUT NORTH CAROLINA (19-8, 9-5 ACC): The Tar Heels like to play an up-tempo style and rank 11th in the nation in points per game (78.1). P.J. Hairston's transition to the starting lineup has been a success over the past four games, with the sophomore guard averaging 18.5 points and six rebounds as a starter. Hairston (13.3 points) is one of three players averaging double-digit scoring along with junior swingman Reggie Bullock (14.9 points, 6.2 rebounds) and sophomore forward James Michael McAdoo (14.5 points, 8.3 rebounds).
ABOUT CLEMSON (13-13, 5-9): The Tigers focus on defense first, allowing 58.6 points per game, which ranks 22nd in the nation. Clemson lacks dynamic offensive players, but it does have a strong post duo in seniors Devin Booker (12.4 points, 7.8 rebounds) and Milton Jennings (9.9 points, 6.4 rebounds). Sophomore swingman K.J. McDaniels (10.7 points, 4.9 rebounds) also averages double figures and freshman guard Jordan Roper has come on strong lately, averaging 12.3 points over the past six games.
1. The Tar Heels are one win away from their 40th 20-win season in the past 43 years and their ninth consecutive 20-win campaign under coach Roy Williams.
2. McDaniels has blocked at least one shot in 16 consecutive games, the longest streak by a Tiger since the 1993-94 season.
3. The Tigers are 0-10 when trailing at halftime.
PREDICTION: North Carolina 71, Clemson 69