CHAPEL HILL — North Carolina has never lost at home against Clemson, which will be back in Chapel Hill this weekend for a game on Sunday. The Tar Heels are 56-0 at home against the Tigers.
UNC’s home winning streak against Clemson is the longest in Division I college basketball history, and the streak has been well publicized. It comes up every time Clemson plays at UNC.
But it doesn’t come up, UNC coach Roy Williams said, in any of his talks with his players. Williams on Friday said he doesn’t discuss the streak with his team. And if he’s ever brought it up, he said he doesn’t remember it.
“I don’t think, and I really believe it, I don’t think I’ve ever talked to my team about that,” Williams said. “It’s just something that they may be aware of, and they may not be aware of. I really don’t know, because I don’t bring it up.”
The Tigers have come close over the years to beating UNC in Chapel Hill. During the 1935-36 and 1973-74 seasons, Clemson lost by one point at UNC. More recently, the Tar Heels have escaped other close calls.
UNC defeated Clemson by two points in the Smith Center during the 2002-03 season. During the 2007-08 season, Clemson led by UNC by 15 during the second half, and the Tigers led by 11 with about four minutes to play. The Tar Heels rallied, prevailed in overtime, and kept the streak going.
Williams closely follows the New York Yankees, and golf. He’s an avid sports fan. Given that, I was curious if there’s a part of him that appreciates this more – the 56-0 at home against Clemson. He said he doesn’t, though.
“I’m glad it’s happened,” he said. “I’ve been sitting on that bench a few of those games. So I’m glad it’s happened. But I really don’t dwell on that. I really don’t. You know, I know two years ago I guess it was, they beat the dickens out of us down there. And I remember those losses.”
And he remembers some wins, too. During his years at Kansas, Williams’ teams never lost at Kansas State. He’s still proud of that.
“The reason I even bring up the Kansas-Kansas State thing (was) because that was in their own building,” Williams said. “Now that’s an unbelievable streak. Coach (Larry) Brown’s team one there for five years, we won for 15. And I think coach (Bill) Self’s team won two or three more.
“I mean, you beat somebody 20-something straight years in their own building – that’s something you should talk about. I really haven’t gotten caught up (UNC’s home streak against Clemson). I really haven’t. You guys get to believe what you want to believe, but I haven’t.”