When: Wednesday, March 9th, 7pm
Where: Verizon Center Washington D.C.
In the past three ACC tournaments, the Tigers have either beaten Georgia Tech or lost to Florida State. The Tigers looked poised to play the Seminoles again this postseason, but the Virginia Tech Hokies upset Miami in the last game of the regular season and jumped Clemson in the ACC standings (due to a tie-breaker), dropping the Tigers down to the #7 seed.
While that means the Tigers won't be playing a team that has to play the day before, it also means they avoid Florida State, which is a good thing.
The Tigers beat the Yellow Jackets in Greenville this season and held a 13 point lead in Atlanta before blowing the game down the stretch.
In the Tigers win over the Jackets, they held Tech's star player, Marcus Georges-Hunt, to just 10 points. In the rematch in Atlanta, Marcus Georges-Hunt went off for 25 points on .800 shooting. Additionally, Adam Smith, their primary three-point threat, did not connect in the Tigers' win, but tallied 4 three-pointers against the Tigers in Atlanta. Combined, Georges-Hunt and Smith scored 23 more points in the rematch than the first game. Interestingly, the Jackets as a team scored 23 more points (52, 75) in the rematch.
KenPom favors the Tigers, but only slightly, giving Clemson a 55% chance to win the game. They need Nnoko to stay out of foul trouble and to utilize him to avoid becoming dependent on the three-point shot. Defensively, they need to limit Georges-Hunt and Smith. If that duo goes off for 45 points again, I do not expect the Tigers to win. That said, I think the Tigers do a better job defensively and grit this one out, solidifying at least one home game in the NIT.