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Clemson vs. South Carolina Basketball Preview

The Tigers host the Gamecocks with a chance to go 10-1 and Coach Brownell wants a full house.

NCAA Basketball: Samford at Clemson Joshua S. Kelly-USA TODAY Sports

The Clemson Tigers (9-1), riding five consecutive wins, will take on South Carolina at Littlejohn Coliseum as heavy favorites tomorrow evening.

The Tigers, who have beaten both Ohio State and Florida during this win streak, both score more points per game and allow fewer points than the Gamecocks. Even so, KenPom ranks the Gamecocks as the nation’s 18th best defense, allowing just over 93 points per 100 possessions.

If Clemson plans to continue their hot streak, the Tigers will need to find ways to score consistently throughout the game. While in most games Clemson’s offense has excelled, this matchup presents unique challenges, especially on such short rest.

“We have a short turnaround against a very good team,” Brownell said, according to the Greenville News. “They’re very physical. Frank gets his guys to play as hard as anybody we’ll play all year. Defensively they really disrupt you and make it difficult for you to get into a flow.”

The Tigers are scoring 112.5 points per 100 possessions, and all five starters are averaging double figures. The team, which has shot over 50 percent from the field this season, is led in scoring by Donte Grantham at 15.5 per game.

The Gamecocks have a slight edge in rebounds per game so big man Elijah Thomas, who is nearly averaging a double-double with 8.9 boards a night will have to have a big performance on the glass.

South Carolina is led in scoring by junior forward Chris Silva, who averages over 13 points or game, and they have two other double-digit scorers; graduate transfer guard Frank Booker and freshman wing Justin Minaya also top 10 ppg.

All in all, both ESPN and KenPom project to win, at 79.3 and 73 percent respectively. The Tigers are 33rd in KenPom’s rankings while the Gamecocks sit at 55th and the site projects Clemson to win 73-66.

If you are able to make the game, expect a packed house after Clemson coach Brad Brownell encouraged fans to fill Littlejohn for the rivalry showdown. Per the Greenville News:

“Everybody in the state of South Carolina, if they want this to be a big game, they’ve got to help make it a big game,” Brownell said. “(South Carolina coach) Frank (Martin) and I are trying hard to do our part by putting good products on the floor. You just hope that’s recognized.”

“Frank and I would both like to see the fan bases get behind it, get excited about it. We want to see this game be as important as it should be. It should be sold out. We’re playing our rival in a very big game.”