South Carolina @ Clemson Basketball Preview

Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

Clemson (2-0) gets their first true test of the season when Frank Martin's South Carolina team (1-1) rolls into Littlejohn Coliseum Sunday, November 17th at 5pm.

As the numbers roll in and the rankings become a bit more accurate, Clemson has been moving up Ken Pomeroy's rankings. Good performances against overmatched opponents can be a poor measuring stick, but that's all we've got and it's given us some reason for optimism. We now sit at 61st overall in Ken Pomeroy's rankings. His adjusted numbers have Clemson at 131st offensively and 35th defensively. South Carolina is currently 91st in the KenPom rankings with the 133rd ranked offense and the 76th ranked defense. CBS Sports has South Carolina projected to finish below UGA in the SEC standings which really may do more to give you an informative snapshot of the Chickens than any advanced metrics.

South Carolina though has been much more tested than Clemson. They traveled to Waco, TX and nearly upset a ranked Baylor squad before falling by two. I'm not big on moral victories, but the Gamecocks giving the Bears that much of a fight should at least concern Clemson fans. Conversely, Clemson's two games were against Stetson (ranked 281 in KenPom) and Delaware State (ranked 298 in KenPom).

It was quite the steal when the Gamecocks brought in Frank Martin from Kansas State to join their program, but last year they finished a paltry 4-14 in SEC play (one win worse than Clemson in much tougher ACC play). Since then, four players have transferred out of the program, a issue Clemson fans know all too well as we endured quite a few players transferring out following the Purnell departure. South Carolina now has just one senior compared to seven freshman and five sophomores.

Sindarius Thornwell, one of the those seven freshman, has been averaging 17 points through the Cocks first two games. He was a four-star recruit out of Lancaster, SC and really is illustrating the type of immediate impact a major recruit can make in basketball--Milton Jennings not withstanding. Rod Hall is one of our better defenders, but I'm interested to see if Brownell will opt to use McDaniels to guard their best player when we have taller shooting guard like Demarcus Harrison or Austin Ajukwa on the court.

On a side note, seeing the impact Thornwell is making in Columbia makes me excited to get Donte Grantham on campus. He won't have to play nearly as big of a role as Thornwell is playing, but add him to this team that doesn't graduate anyone after the year and we'll be in a good spot.

I expect this to be a much bigger challenge for us than the first two, but it is one we should win. If we are dropping games to lower level SEC teams in the non-conference schedule, ACC play will miserable. Tip is at 5pm on Sunday. You can watch on ESPN3 though this is a good one to attend if within driving distance. Tickets are $25 online.

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