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Tar Heels Try to Snap Losing Streak

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CHAPEL HILL — North Carolina begins play in 1999 on Saturday, when it hosts a dangerous Clemson team in a key ACC showdown.

The Tar Heels have dropped two straight games, including a 78-71 decision to California on December 29th. The Heels will need to pick up the tempo a bit if they are to avoid their third straight loss and defeat the Tigers.

Clemson had an eight-game win streak snapped in its last outing, falling to Illinois, 67-50. The Tigers point total was their lowest of the season. UNC has owned Clemson in this series, holding a 105-15 advantage. The Tar Heels have never lost to the Tigers in Chapel Hill, with a spotless 44-0 record all-time.

Clemson has surprised everyone with its ability to put points on the scoreboard. A team primarily focused on defense in the past, has added an offensive element to its gameplan. The Tigers are averaging 70.9 points per game this season, but have not sacrificed anything defensively, giving up just 54.4 ppg (first in the ACC).

The team has a potent inside/outside game. 5-9 senior guard Terrell McIntyre leads the aerial assault from the perimeter, averaging 16.2 ppg. He is shooting 53.2 percent from the floor and 46.2 percent from long range (30-of-62). The low post game is in the hands of 6-8 forward Harold Jamison, who is averaging 12.4 points and a team-high 9.8 rebounds per game. Center Tom Wideman has been serviceable in the middle, adding 7.3 points and 6.3 rebounds per game.

North Carolina has scripted a completely opposite story from the Tigers. Once a prolific scoring team, the Tar Heels have been forced to rely on good defense this season (yielding 64.0 ppg). The interior game is still strong however, with forward Ademola Okulaja leading the team in both scoring (13.3 ppg) and rebounding (8.7 rpg). He is aided down low by big men Brendan Haywood (12.8 ppg) and Kris Lang (10.3 ppg).

Junior guard Ed Cota has completed his maturation process, having become a dangerous player in every aspect. He is averaging 10.9 points and 5.5 rebounds per game, all while dishing out an ACC-best 7.6 assists per game. Forward Jason Capel comes off the bench to add 9.2 points and 5.1 rebounds per game.

Sports Network Predicted Outcome: North Carolina 71, Clemson 66

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