Clemson is 3-2 in home ACC games this year, but two of those wins were over Georgia Tech and Wake Forest, a couple of teams at the very bottom of the ACC standings. The Tigers played really well in a close loss at UVA, and we will need to turn in another superb performance if we want to knock off one of the ACC's better teams in Virginia. Both the Tigers and the Cavs have gone 1-2 since the two teams met on January 31st, but Virginia has faced a tougher schedule than us in that time. While we were losing to a pair of mediocre teams in Virginia Tech and Maryland, the Cavs lost a pair of road games to a couple of the ACC's elite (FSU and UNC).
Both the Tigers and the Cavs are defensive minded teams. Virginia is holding conference opponents to 53.9 ppg, while the Tigers are holding ACC teams to 64.3 ppg. When looking at the entire season, the Cavs are holding teams to just 51.9 ppg (good enough for 2nd in the country), and the Tigers are holding opponents to 60.3 ppg, which puts the Tigers in the top 30 nationally.
One of the keys to the game will be the play of Mike Scott and Joe Harris. The duo combined for 42 points against us, and they have continued to score lots of points in the three games since, with Scott averaging 17.6 ppg and Harris 11.6 ppg. We've got to do a better job of defending Scott in this one. We didn't do a good job of defending him last time out. He was well defended inside when he wasn't being guarded by Bobo, but we played too soft on him when he was 15-20 feet from the basket, and he made us pay with a lot of wide open mid-range jumpers.
We also let Harris and fellow guard Sammy Zeglinski shoot a lot of uncontested treys. Harris was feeling it that game (5 of 6 from 3), but Zeglinski struggled (1 of 7 from 3). Zeglinski has the ability to knock it down from 21 feet out, but he's had a very rough stretch the last couple of weeks. The senior is just 2 of 13 in the 3 games since his 1 of 7 performance against the Tigers.
The injury to senior center Assane Sene has left the Cavs with almost no depth in the frontcourt. Mike Scott is obviously a threat to score every time he touches the ball, but he's the Cavs only real threat inside. Akil Mitchell has started all 7 games since the Sene injury, but the sophomore is no where as good as the guy he's replacing, and averages just 4 ppg. Freshman Dorian Atkins is UVA's only other player of note in the frontcourt, but he really doesn't play that much, averaging less than 10 mpg.
Game tips tonight at 7 on ESPNU.
Virginia's Projected Starting Lineup
#12 Joe Harris 6-6, 211 sophomore G
#23 Mike Scott 6-8, 237 senior F
#1 Jontel Evans 5-11, 188 junior G
#13 Sammy Zeglinski, 6-1 184 senior G
#25 Akil Mitchell, 6-8 234 sophomore F
Also Watch Out For
#22 Malcolm Brogdon, 6-5 215 freshman G