Clemson's losing streak at UNC reaches 47
By Desmond M. Wallace, CNNSI.com
For the Clemson basketball team, a road trip to the state of North Carolina to play UNC, Duke or Wake Forest must seem like a trip to the dentist for a root canal the morning before being audited by the IRS. So unrewarding have away games been for the Tigers against those three Tobacco Road schools that in the last decade or so, had Clemson just simply failed to show up at all, essentially, they would have been no worse off.
The Tigers have lost a combined 30 of 31 games since 1990-'91 when visiting the Tar Heels, Blue Devils and Demon Deacons. Moreover, Clemson's road struggles against its northern neighbors have included 22 losses in their past 24 games at Duke's Cameron Indoor Stadium and 10 consecutive defeats at Wake Forest.
To make matters worse, the Tigers' tobacco quicksand apparently has extended to the Atlantic Coast Conference's postseason as well. All time, Clemson has lost 41 of 52 ACC tourney games which have been played in Charlotte, Greensboro or Raleigh. To their credit, though, the Tigers have won five of their past seven regular-season contests at N.C. State.
But for whatever reason, Clemson has always had particular difficulty when playing at North Carolina, as Wednesday night's 92-65 loss to the sixth-ranked Tar Heels indicates. With their latest defeat, the Tigers extended their losing streak in Chapel Hill to 47 in a row. So stark is the reality of failure, that since the Tigers first visited the Heels in 1926, Clemson has yet to win a single road game against its powder-blue rivals. Ever.
In the history of NCAA Division I men's hoops, only Brown's current 50-game drought at Princeton is a longer span of road futility to a single foe. The Bears will attempt to end their skid on Feb. 2 when Brown visits Princeton's Jadwin Gymnasium for the first time since last season's 85-57 drubbing in Jersey.
But in Clemson's case, the prospect of playing games in the state of North Carolina down the road cannot possibly be anything to look forward to. As if recent history weren't enough, through Wednesday's action, UNC, Duke and Wake Forest were each ranked in the top 10 of the AP poll and each was laden with young talent for at least the next couple years.
Poor Clemson. Even future trips up to Tobacco Road may turn out to be nothing but dead ends.