When: Tuesday, 8pm
TV: ACC Network/Regional TV/ESPN3
Outlook: The Tigers still cling to a small thread of hope of reaching the NCAA tournament after surviving a double OT battle with the Twerps on Sunday. There in no rest for the weary as just a one day prep is afforded the Tigers heading into a matchup with the defending ACC champions. This in almost an entirely different team coming into this game for Miami than the veteran lineup they had last season. However, Miami has a terrific coach in Jim Larranaga who has done about a good of a job as Brownell has done this year with the Tigers. Miami has featured some heavy zone at times this year and we all know what problems that could present to the shooting starved Tigers.
You figure Tony Bennett is going to run away with the COY award and rightfully so, but an honorable mention should be given to Brad Brownell who lost his top two posts, including the team's leading scorer and rebounder, returned no seniors, and had no one-and-done stud recruits coming in yet has managed to take his team to the top six of the league. Supreme kudos should be given out, especially when you look at the murderous row of games the team had to endure in January into February. The Tigers were picked 14th in the preseason, behind this Miami team who lost all five starters and two more of their top 8. The Canes have put together a respectable year considering the heavy losses they sustained and enter this game with a KenPom rank of 70 and sitting at 6-10 in the ACC and 15-14 overall. Getting the win here would set up a very meaningful finale with Pitt, but looking ahead would be foolish after what we saw in Winston-Salem.
The Canes are led by senior Rion Brown who was really the only returning major minute guy from last year. Brown is a good athlete who can play both the 2 and the 3 and is very dangerous if he has his 3-point shot going for him. I fully expect Clemson to put K.J. McDaniels on him which should present Brown with some problems. One interesting bit about the Canes is their diminutive point guard Manu Lecomte. He has started some and come off the bench some. It will be interesting to see how Rod Hall and Adonis Filer handle the small and quick Lecomte.
The Canes have good size as most ACC squads do and can roll a lineup at you with nobody under 6'5" if they choose. Clemson needs to do a better job rebounding than on Sunday when the Twerps were able to nearly overcome a very poor shooting performance by creating multiple second chances. Miami, like Clemson, is a poor shooting team ranking only 275th in effective field goal percentage as a team. Clemson comes in at 312th in that category.
The low scoring slug fest we saw against GT in the 'John could be repeated Tuesday night. As Ryan Kantor pointed out in his Tip Drill for the Maryland game, Miami is the slowest paced team in the country on offense. Clemson is just a notch ahead of that, so it will be a rare case where the Tigers see a team that likes it even slower than they do. Will Brownell call for some more up tempo play as he did some versus Maryland? That will be an interesting thing to watch.
The best news for Clemson is that Rod Hall and Damarcus Harrison have found their grooves a bit down the stretch to give K.J. McDaniels some help. It will once again be important for Landry Nnoko to be able to play heavy minutes and avoid foul trouble. His presence on both ends is a game changer for the Tigers, especially when a team zones up like Miami probably will. The first team to crack 50 will be in very good shape. KenPom likes Clemson's chances with a 71% win probability. I'd consider it an upset even greater than the Wake and Auburn losses should the Tigers stumble in this one.