When: Friday at 1:30
So, Clemson was able to put up 95 points in a regulation basketball game. That certainly is a different thing from the usually grind it out Brownell squads from the last six years. Perhaps it is a sign that the Tigers finally have adequate offensive talent to open things up and play with better tempo. Now Clemson gets an excellent opportunity to notch a huge win in the non conference which could go a long way to securing a bid to the NCAA tourney. This Xavier team is a very different animal than Davidson and will pose a major challenge for the short handed Tigers. This is an excellent litmus test for Brad Brownell’s team.
Xavier features big, long guards who are very good all around players. Blueitt, Sumner, and Macura are all 6’4” or bigger and rebound well for their positions, especially Blueitt who is going for 19 points and 7 rebounds a game so far. Xavier can score the ball with their balanced attack and have gone for at least 83 in their three games. They are not as good a three point shooting team as Davidson, but they can certainly put the Tigers in foul trouble potentially. Clemson is really only six deep right now, maybe six and a half including Robertin. That could be problematic against the physical perimeter guys Xavier features. Clemson needs Jaron Blossomgame to be at his best as he still is the biggest match up problem on the floor. Other than that, it will be a test of Holmes, DeVoe, and Reed against the big three for the Musketeers. I shouldn't have to repeat how important Sidy Djitte staying on the floor is for Clemson. The rebounding takes a big step back when he is out and that could be deadly against the physical Big East contenders.
KenPom has Xavier as a very slight favorite, calling for a 75-74 Xavier win. Can Clemson keep up its offensive efficiency after two strong outings in a row? I am anxious to get the answer to that. This certainly could be a fun season in hoops after two frustrating seasons in a row.