“If you make every game a life and death proposition, you’re going to have problems. For one thing, you’ll be dead a lot.” – Dean Smith
I graduated from the University of North Carolina in 1996. As college sports go, UNC is definitely a “basketball school” – currently ranking 3rd on the all time wins list (2033), and claiming 5 national championships (1957, 1982, 1993, 2005, 2009 … and the somewhat-less obvious 1924 title, which usually goes uncounted).
As can be the case with powerhouse schools in any sport, there will be “amazing” streaks, particularly versus a given opponent. In this case, it is UNC versus Clemson. In 55 trips to play at Chapel Hill, Clemson has registered a big, fat, goose egg. Not one, single, solitary win. 55-0.
There have been some close calls. In 2008 Clemson led by 11 with three minutes to play – UNC ended up winning by 10 in double overtime, 103-93. In 2003 Clemson also gave up a late lead and lost by two, 68-66. In 1982 Clemson led by one with three minutes to play, over Michael Jordan, James Worthy, and the eventual national champions. The Heels escaped 77-72.
I remember my freshman year when Clemson guard Chris Whitney turned into a super-hero setting a record of three pointers in the Smith Center. UNC won the game, Clemson only had one good player, but it certainly showed a tendency for UNC to make heroes out of three-point-shooters.
I bring this up because the streak is on the line again today. Will it go to 56-0, or will Clemson finally break through? UNC certainly has the better team, but this is basketball, and anything can happen. So to our readers to happen to be Clemson fans, we say “keep hope alive” – streaks are made to be broken and some day it will happen.
—– UPDATE —–
Well the streak continues. UNC topped Clemson 74-52 on the strength of a 37-23 rebounding advantage (10 offensive boards). With the ACC expanding to 14 teams next season, the Clemson @ UNC game will likely only happen every other year, which means we’ll get to talk about the streak for a longer time, if not more games.