Location: Value City Arena - Columbus, OH
Following a tough loss in the final of the Charleston Classic, the Tigers enjoyed a week off for Thanksgiving and will now travel to Columbus to face Ohio State in the ACC/B1G Challenge.
The two teams share a win over Texas Southern and are a combined 9-0 against teams outside KenPom’s top 125. Ohio State is much more tested after participating in the PK80 in Portland over the Thanksgiving Holiday. There they faced Gonzaga (a blowout loss), Stanford (an 8-point win), and Butler (a 1-point loss).
Ohio State is a very strong rebounding team. PF Keita Bates-Diop will be a challenge for the Tigers to contain. He has about 20lbs on Donte Grantham who the Tigers have used almost exclusively at PF this season, along with freshman Aamir Simms. The suspended David Skara will be missed in this one. Clemson will have to find a way to end defensive sets with a rebound. To this cause, it will be imperative that Tiger Center Eli Thomas avoids foul trouble.
Ohio State scores most of their points inside the arc. They have struggled from three and accordingly don’t shoot many of them. Neither of their guards are major three-point shooters. That’s a relief as the Tigers are once again struggle to get out and contest three-pointers.
The Tigers have a chance to pick-up a big road win and notch one for the ACC in the ACC/B1G Challenge. Despite the Buckeyes’ brand as one of the few universities that wins big in both football and basketball, this is expected to be a rebuilding year for them. They are in year one under Coach Chris Holtmann, who they hired away from Butler following the departure of longtime coach Thad Matta. They were picked to finish 11th in the B1G.
Prognosis: This is a fantastic barometer game for the Tigers. Even on the road, it is winnable, but it’ll be tough sledding in the paint. We’ll find out how well Clemson can handle a team that crashes the boards and attacks the basket. Grantham will have to show toughness battling in the paint, Eli Thomas will have to provide a defensive presence in the post without getting in foul trouble, and they must limit turnovers well below the 18 they coughed up against Temple. This game is winnable, but a slightly worse than 50-50 proposition.