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January 24, 2014

Clemson - UNC Preview

Basketball Preview

Well this should be interesting.

The Clemson Tigers haven't gotten a win in Chapel Hill in 57 tries and have as good a chance as ever to break that streak Sunday night. This Tar Heel team has gone from inconsistent to consistently bad over the course of a month and all indications are they haven't begun to solve their problems yet.

UNC is coming off a 76-61 loss on the road against Virginia and are currently third from the bottom in the ACC standings with a record of 1-3. The Tigers have already notched a victory over the Duke Blue

Devils but are coming off a blowout loss on the road to Pittsburgh 76-43.

Both teams have something to prove but Clemson has a whole history book of motivation to get back in the win column this weekend.

Can UNC extend the streak or will their ACC woes reach historic proportions? Let's take a look at the storylines heading into the weekend.

Leslie McDonald

Fairly or unfairly, Leslie McDonald's return to the court has coincided with a bad run of performances for UNC. The Tar Heels are just 4-5 during games he's played while they were 7-2 during his absence.

He's not the only reason the Heels have struggled but part of their struggles can be attributed to him.

When he wasn't available, Roy Williams played Marcus Paige and Nate Britt a lot and that combo was able to push the pace. Having McDonald back gives UNC a more shooting centric line-up but one that's a little slower and can't put as much pressure on opposing defenses.

To cap it off, McDonald hasn't really shot the ball well either, which is what he's supposed to bring to the table. He hasn't shot above 35 percent in a game since New Year's Eve against UNC-Wilmington.

It's tough to think that taking out the one senior contributor on this team---and one that has an outside shot an a team struggling to hit from deep---in favor of a rookie point guard would be beneficial but McDonald's gunner abilities might be better suited coming off the bench in a Jason Terry or Manu Ginobili type role.

James Michael McAdoo

James Michael McAdoo set the world on fire as a reserve during his freshman year to the point that NBA scouts thought he could be a lottery pick. That time has passed as it's quite clear that McAdoo isn't the type of player that can carry a team all by himself.

But that's o.k. McAdoo is built in the mode of a less nasty Joakim Noah in the sense that he can get to the boards and outhustle people. But he's not overly skilled and he leaves a lot of points clanking off the front of the rim.

He should be the type of player that can get to the free throw line more than he should and if he can simply put his head down and get to the basket, he can help get the other team in foul trouble quicker so that when Paige gets hand checked outside late in the game, those fouls will automatically turn into foul shots.

Against Virginia, he had a drive where he got the ball at the top of the key, drove to the basket with one dribble and slammed home a rim-rattling dunk. He can do that whenever he wants and as he gets more comfortable starting his possessions from the outside, he will have that type of impact.

Kennedy Meeks

Meeks has put together two solid back-to-back games against Virginia and Boston College in UNC's last two outings (15 points, 9 rebounds and 10 points, 6 rebounds respectively). That they came after his dismal zero point debut as a starter indicates that while he's clearly talented, he's best suited as the best player on the court against the reserves.

He's still not as explosive as he needs to get but Meeks has done a better job getting his body up and down the court as well as his awesome full court heaves. If he can begin getting tip-ins and elevating over his defenders with his wide array of post moves, he'll be unstoppable.

Jeff Van Gundy mentioned during the Virginia telecast that Meeks has the potential to become one of the best big men in the ACC this year. He'll need to develop at an alarming rate over the next few weeks but it's entirely possible he'll be in the discussion if his trajectory continues.

(13-5, 4-2)
North Carolina
(11-7, 1-4)

Game Day
Sunday, January 26, 2014
Time: 6:00 PM EST
Venue: Dean E. Smith Center (21,750)

Radio: Tar Heel Sports Network & SiriusXM (Sirius 91/XM 91)
Series: UNC leads 127-20
Last Meeting: UNC won 68-59 on February 28, 2013 in Clemson.

2013-2014 ACC Standings

Clemson at a glance
Location: Clemson, SC
Nickname: Tigers
Colors: Clemson Orange & Regalia
Conference: ACC
Arena: Littlejohn Coliseum (10,000)
2012-2013 Record: 13-18 (5-13)
Last Game: Clemson lost at No. 19 Pittsburgh, 76-43, on Tuesday in Pittsburgh.
More on the Cavaliers:
Schedule | Stats | Roster
Official Site | Rivals Site

Last starting line-up
(against Pittsburgh)

F - K.J. McDaniels
F - Jaron Blossomgame
C - Landry Nnoko
G - Jordan Roper

G - Rod Hall

Statistical Leaders
Scoring: K.J. McDaniels (16.4 PPG) Rod Hall (9.8 PPG)

Rebounding: K.J. McDaniels (7.0 RPG) Landry Nnoko (6.6 RPG)

Assists: Rod Hall (3.7 APG) Jordan Roper (1.8 APG)

Team Statistics
Points Per Game:
Rebounds Per Game: 38.3
Assist Per Game: 10.7
Field Goal Percentage: .426
3-pt Field Goal Percentage: .318

North Carolina at a glance
Last starting line-up
(against Virginia)

F - Jame Michael McAdoo
F - J.P. Tokoto
F - Joel James
G - Leslie McDonald

G - Marcus Paige

Statistical Leaders
Scoring: Marcus Paige (16.8 PPG) James Michael McAdoo (14.4 PPG)

Rebounding: Brice Johnson (6.5 RPG) James Michael McAdoo (6.4 RPG)

Assists: Marcus Paige (4.2 APG) J.P. Tokoto (2.7 APG)

Team Statistics
oints Per Game: 75.2
Rebounds Per Game: 40.8
Assist Per Game: 15.4
Field Goal Percentage: .454
3-pt Field Goal Percentage: .304

Game Notes: CU | UNC



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