When: Wednesday 9pm
Where: Florida State
What's up with the suddenly lethal Clemson basketball team? It's as if a transformation has occurred...
Now I'm even more upset about the pitiful showing against FSU in the first game because the team could be in even better shape now, but considering we basically stole the Wake game I'll just take things as they are.
I won't get into a major writeup on FSU since I covered them in the first preview you can see here. Nothing much has changed in terms of what needs to happen for a Tiger victory, other than Xavier Rathan-Mayes has become a major weapon of mass destruction. He followed up his shredding of our vaunted defense by dropping 35 in Chapel Hill. Clemson simply has to keep him in front and force him to beat us with contested jump shots. Rod Hall has had some impressive defensive showings the last two games and I'm sure will be looking for redemption after getting outplayed pretty badly by the freshman in the first outing.
FSU will employ the same aggressive man-to-man defense as before, looking to cut down on our perimeter passing and force drives into their massive front line. Jordan Roper has been on fire but struggled mightily in the first game against the size of FSU. He will need to be smart when he attacks and know when to go all the way and when to set up his teammates after drawing in the defense. The team was able to effectively draw fouls and get to the line in the first game, but as we all know (and would like to forget), the team bricked away all hopes of a win from the charity stripe.
Clemson looked like a different team last year in Tallahassee after getting worked over in Littlejohn, so we will see if the same magic can be found on Wednesday night. Pull this one off, and that NIT birth begins to look a lot more attainable. If nothing else, the team has begun to warrant some attention from its fan base with its improved play. KenPom is calling for a 62-61 FSU win and it will likely be a case of first team to 60 wins (if either gets there). The Tigers are now in the top 100 of the KenPom rankings, so there's that.