The Untouchables is a 10-part series spotlighting college basketball's most unbreakable records. Up first is No. 10: North Carolina's unparalleled 56-game home winning streak against Clemson.
Eighty-two years into one of the most unfathomable streaks in college basketball history, the school that had never beaten North Carolina on the road was on the verge of finally breaking its Chapel Hill hex.
Clemson held an 11-point lead with three minutes left in its Feb. 10, 2008 matchup with the third-ranked Tar Heels, a margin that appeared safe the way the Tigers had dominated from the opening tipoff.
A trickle of blue-clad fans headed toward the exits. The rest sat in their seats in stunned silence. It was bleak enough for the home team that even North Carolina's players began pondering the sobering possibility of losing to Clemson in Chapel Hill for the first time in 53 games.
"I know for sure that thought passed through my mind," starting forward Marcus Ginyard said. "I was like, 'Wow, we're not going to win this game. We're going to be the ones to let this streak go.'"
The idea the streak could end on their watch horrified Ginyard and his teammates because they felt like they were letting generations of former Tar Heels down.
In the time since North Carolina's first home victory over Clemson in 1926, the U.S. has endured the Great Depression, put men on the moon and survived the disco and hair metal crazes without the Tigers winning in Chapel Hill. Along the way, the Tar Heels have outclassed the Tigers in every way imaginable, beating them narrowly (61-60 in 1974), soundly (85-48 in 1953), at a breakneck pace (100-86 in 1989) and at a crawl (24-23 in 1936). (more...)