Clemson (14-11, 4-9) heads to Coral Gables, where Miami is a slight favorite in Sunday’s game, which tips off at noon. Clemson has struggled to find consistency this year since conference play began going just 4-9.
The Hurricanes and Tigers rank 50th and 51st respectively in the RPI ratings from Feb. 16, 2017. They’re also neck and neck in the KenPom rankings with Miami at #35 and Clemson at #36.
For Clemson to win this game, Shelton Mitchell will need to continue his strong play. Although he struggled against Florida State, he has scored 15+ in four of the past five games.
Another key player in the game for Clemson will be Marcquise Reed, who is coming off a 21-point performance against Wake Forest. Although not a perfect barometer for the Tigers, the team is 8-4 when he breaks double-digits in the scoring column.
In addition to Reed and Mitchell, Clemson’s two leading scorers, Jaron Blossomgame and Avry Holmes, must play well for the Tigers to win the game. Blossomgame, after struggling from three earlier in the season, has returned to form from beyond the arc. He has made at least two three-pointers in five of the last eight games.
One key area where Clemson has the edge during the game is in the turnover battle. Clemson excels in this area, ranking 24th in terms of protecting the ball, and 38th in terms of takeaways, according to Kenpom’s offensive and defensive turnover percentage rankings. Miami has the 257th best offense in the country when it comes to protecting the ball. They give it away on nearly 20% of their possessions.
One Hurricane who could give Clemson trouble is senior guard Davon Reed. Reed is averaging 15 points and four rebounds a game while also shooting nearly 42 percent from beyond the arc. Clemson’s turnover hungry defense will hope to force him into sloppy play; Reed already averages over two turnovers a game.
This will be a tough game for Clemson, but they have shown they can play with anyone. The question is, will they be able to put everything together and actually get the win? KenPom gives the Tigers a 37% chance to win.