Where: Littlejohn Coliseum
When: Wednesday, 9:15pm
Clemson will return to the hardwood on Wednesday night as they take on the Nebraska Cornhuskers as part of the ACC/Big 10 Challenge. The two teams will meet for the first time in history and both look to end streaks where they are not playing their best basketball. Clemson enters the contest with a record of 3-2 after dropping two opportunities at signature non-conference wins in Orlando against Xavier and Oklahoma and a lackluster performance in a win against High Point. Nebraska enters the contest with a record of 4-2, but will be playing their fourth consecutive game away from home and are coming off back-to-back losses to UCLA and Virginia Tech in the Wooden Classic where the Huskers took 4th place.
Clemson enters the contest with six different players averaging double figures, but the story of the early season has been the consistency of the guards for Clemson. Avery Holmes and Gave DeVoe have put up impressive early season numbers for the Tigers (both averaging 12.6ppg) but with a majority of their scoring coming from outside of the 3-point line, it leaves the Tiger offense looking rather one dimensional. The early culprit for the Tigers has been the inability to take care of the ball. Clemson coughed up the ball 17 times in their loss to Oklahoma, and has 57 on the young season. This may be due to the lack of depth at the Point Guard position where the Tigers got some much-needed help with the return of Shelton Mitchell. Mitchell is expected to get the start against Nebraska. Mitchell will be counted on to run the Tiger offense and take care of the ball, despite a potential minute restriction. Down low, the Tigers have enjoyed the early season success of Senior Sidy Djitte. Djitte is averaging a Double-Double early on with 10.6 points and 10.2 rebounds per game. Djitte MUST stay out of foul trouble and be a force on the boards as Nebraska averages 39 rebounds per game to the Tigers 34. Of course, every conversation about the Tigers begins and ends with Jaron Blossomgame. Blossomgame has come alive in the past two games coming off an impressive 27-point performance against High Point. Blossomgame does go through stretches where he doesn’t see the ball due to the quick triggers of the guards and Donte Grantham, but the offense must be run through him if the Tigers expect to take down the Huskers.
Nebraska enters the contest with a majority of their scoring coming from their guard play in the forms of Senior Tye Webster and Sophomore Glynn Watson Jr. Nebraska will depend on the performances of these players as they depend on 20-point individual scoring to come out with victories. On the young season, Nebraska has 7 20-point performances, with 3 each coming from Webster and Watson. Webster leads the Huskers in scoring averaging 18.5ppg and shooting 52.9% from the field. The key to slowing down the Husker offense appears to be stopping Webster as he scored only 10 points in the Nebraska loss to Virginia Tech which resulted in a season low 53 points for the Huskers. Nebraska will be looking for Watson Jr. to return to form. Outside of scoring 27 points against UCLA and 20 against Dayton, Webster has been held under 6 points in the remaining 3 contests. The bread and butter of the Nebraska team is their defense as they are holding opponents to only 40.0% shooting from the field and UCLA is the only team to shoot over 40% from the field against them. Nebraska doesn’t have a dominant post player, but uses team rebounding, especially from Webster who averages 5.5rpg of his own.