Fresh off a 95-82 loss to the Miami Hurricanes on Wednesday, the Clemson Men's Basketball team faces a quick turnaround against a quality opponent as the North Carolina Tar Heels invade Littlejohn Coliseum for a noon contest Saturday that will be televised on ESPN2.
Clemson led Miami by six at the half, but things fell apart on the defensive end for Brad Brownell's team in the second half and were exacerbated by the Hurricanes 75% second-half shooting.
The Tar Heels are 10-3 overall and 2-0 in the ACC, with wins over Florida State and Pittsburgh in the conference.
Unlike Miami, North Carolina has played a top-notch schedule, with non-conference opponents including Villanova, Arkansas, Tennessee, Connecticut and Kentucky.
The Tar Heels have also played, and beat, a Radford team that Clemson destroyed by a score of 86-70 in their season opener.
Six-foot, senior guard R.J. Davis has been the Tar Heels catalyst, scoring 21.1 points per game, dishing out 3.6 assists and averaging 1.3 steals per game, while shooting 40% from three-point range.
While 6'11 senior Armando Bacot leads North Carolina on the boards with 10.8 rebounds per game, 6'7 forward Harrison Ingram and his 7 boards per game can't be overlooked.
In addition to Davis, Bacot (14.9 points per game), Ingram (13.4) and Cormac Ryan (11.1) all average double figures for the Tar Heels.
Much like most opponents, North Carolina will look to speed up the Tigers and to that end the Tar Heels are on of the most efficient offenses in the nation according to KenPom.com which has to be uncomfortable for Clemson fans after what we witnessed in Coral Gables on Wednesday.
The Tar Heels rely less on the three than the Tigers and get a good chunk of their points at the free-throw line, where they are hitting 77.1% as a team.
Clemson is led by P.J. Hall, who's averaging 20.2 points, 6.5 rebounds, 2.2 blocks and 2.1 assists per game, while shooting 56.3% from the field and 28% from three-point range.
Joe Girard (15.8 points per game) and Chase Hunter (11.4) are also double-figure scorers for Clemson, while Ian Schieffelin leads the Tigers on the boards with 9.8 per game.
Clemson Men's Basketball faces a big challenge in North Carolina
This is a battle-tested North Carolina team and one of the few teams Clemson will face that is more experienced than the Tigers.
In what could be an old-school battle of big men, the battle between Hall and Bacot should be a fascinating watch.
Hall's propensity to get into foul trouble could handicap the Tigers, and that's something to look for as the game develops.
With the expectation that this is a close game, perhaps within a basket or two, Clemson has the home-court advantage, which is worth 4 points per KenPom.com, but the noon time slot negates that a bit.
It feels like a weird thing to say about an 11-2 team that's only two games into a 20-game conference schedule, but the Tigers need a win.