UNC hoops standout Justin Jackson talks about how hard it is to win road ACC games

It’s the first Friday of 2024, with the UNC men’s basketball team just one night away from playing its third ACC matchup.

Carolina started slow in its first two conference clashes, but rebounded to down Florida State and Pitt. The Tar Heels are now winners of their past three, sit eighth in the latest AP Poll and look significantly more like an ACC contender.

UNC gets its toughest, early-season conference test on Saturday, Jan. 6 at 12 p.m. ET, as it’ll be battling Clemson inside Littlejohn Coliseum. The Tigers have started 2024 hot and hope to stay hot, after collapsing during ACC play last year.

If you know anything about Clemson sports, particularly football, they have one of the best home-field advantages. Case in point – I went to the Tigers-Georgia Tech football game in early November. It was cool, cloudy and slightly rainy, but Memorial Stadium was PACKED in purple and orange.

In a broader sphere, winning on the road in any ACC sport is tough. Just ask Justin Jackson, a 2017 NCAA Champion with our very own Tar Heels.

“I’ll never forget my freshman year, we went into Pittsburgh and it was really loud,” Jackson told InsideCarolina on his Shooting it Straight podcast. “They had some really good players on the team at the time. Pitt got the jump ball, tipped it ahead and the guy dunked it. The way that the crowd roaded at that moment, at the time it was hard to think.”

UNC had struggled with the Panthers until Tuesday, when it won for just the second time in seven matchups.

Later in his podcast, Jackson continued offering his advice about tough road environments in the ACC.

ACC road wins are extremely hard to get and when you win them, no matter how it might look or no matter how it turns out, you gotta clap and celebrate for those wins,” Jackson said.

With Clemson and N.C. State up next, Carolina has a golden chance to show it’s the ACC’s team to beat.

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Story originally appeared on Tarheels Wire