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Clemson vs B.C.: Basketball Preview

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Clemson faces a hot Boston College squad tomorrow night.

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

Now that the silly little football season is over, we can finally focus on the sport that drives Clemson athletics: College Basketball!

The #25 ranked Tigers enter tomorrow's contest in Boston vs the Eagles on a heater, ripping off eight straight, including a domination of NC State in the ACC opener. BC is coming off a 1-point loss to #9 ranked Virginia, and have won 5 of their last 6, including an improbable 5-point win over Duke. Clemson has finally managed to scratch and claw its way into the top 25, and will seek to validate their ranking with a win.

Boston College So Far:

Boston College comes into the game tomorrow at 10-4. They are 9-1 at home (with a loss to Texas Tech and a win over Duke) and 2-4 on the road (with a loss to Nebraska and a win over Hartford).

Boston College is a much better team at home, and unfortunately, that’s just where Clemson plays them on Wednesday.

PPG: 76.4 - 140th Overall (Note: this average is somewhat skewed by the UVA game, B.C. has topped 80 points in 8 games)

RPG: 40.6 - 25th

APG: 13.1 - 225th

PAPG: 62.6 - 91st

Offense:

The BC offense isn’t that complicated. When they run their sets, their perimeter players tend to wheel around a player in the post or at the free throw line or free throw line extended looking for cuts and exploitable match ups, in a 4 out 1 in look.

You will often see the inside player used to set a ball screen in the late shot clock, essentially going 5 out and opening up the lane for a drive. B.C. will flash players into the post, but are not a heavy post up oriented team.

They want the ball in the hands of their guards, and they want their guards to score. The post players are mainly used as screeners and rebounders.

5 Out Look

In transition, they will look to push the ball on rebounds. They will spread the floor in transition and either look for an easy path to the rim, or open shooters filling the corners.

Clemson has to stop the ball in transition

Transition 3 off a rebound

Overall:

Boston College is a perimeter-oriented offense that looks spread the floor and attack. I like Clemson’s ability to defend on the perimeter, but BC will stress the ball screen defense, especially late in the clock.

We have to avoid the bad switch (i.e., Thomas on a guard) because they will attack any bad perimeter match up.

Boston College will ask some interesting questions of the Clemson defense, but I like our overall athleticism to win out. Having the ability to play a wing like Donte Grantham at the 4 in this game will pay huge dividends, as Clemson can essentially switch 1-4 without much drop off.

Defense:

Boston College plays an aggressive man-to-man defense that looks pressure the ball and take away easy passes. Often times, they will extend out and attempt to take away the first pass (for Clemson, often times this is a wing entry start to the offense). This leaves them vulnerable to back cuts.

Cut to the basket

I’ll admit, I didn’t watch any film on BC playing a dominant center, but in the film I have watched, they don’t double the post.

Clemson should be able to make a living in the paint, but the guards are going to have to deal with the ball pressure on the entry pass. This is a game where Eli Thomas and Donte Grantham should be able to eat down low if the Tigers stay patient.

B.C. Key Players:

Jerome Robinson: 17.4 ppg - 43% 3pt shooter

Robinson is a daunting match up for any team. The 6’6” guard from Raleigh can light up any team. Virginia is considered the best defensive team in the nation, and Robinson touched them up to the tune of 29 points on of 22 shooting.

When the shot clock gets low, BC will spread the floor, empty out the paint with a ball screen, and let Robinson eat off the dribble. If Clemson expects to come home with a win, they are going to have to mitigate the damage Robinson inflicts on the defense.

I expect a constant rotation of perimeter players to harass Robinson throughout the game, and wouldn’t be shocked to see Grantham get some time on him late in the shot clock to make his pull up game a little more difficult.

Stephon Mitchell: 5.8 ppg - 7.6 rpg

Mitchell is a 6’8, 220 pound freshman out of Minnesota that has really given BC a boost this year.

The versatile forwards leads the Eagles in rebounds, and will look to start the break with his dribble off of any uncontested defensive rebounds. His ability to push the ball in transition and keep B.C. away from Clemson’s set defense will be crucial for B.C.

Keeping Mitchell off the boards, and harassing him when he does get a board to prevent the easy dribble out to start the transition game will be key for the Tigers. Look for Clemson to pressure Mitchell off any defensive rebounds in order to prevent the run out.

Keys Overall:

Clemson Offense:

Don’t let B.C. lull you into a 1 v 1 game with their perimeter defense. Clemson must move the ball and look to feed the post. Eli should be able to dominate whoever attempts to guard him, and getting into the B.C. bench would be a bonus.

Grantham should be able to live off of baseline cuts if Clemson is patient enough to run the offense.

Clemson Defense:

Robinson is probably going to get his, but you’ve got to make him inefficient. Clemson has to snug up to shooters in transition, because BC will run to corners and look for 3’s on the break and in secondary transition. The Tigers will always have to box out and secure rebounds because B.C. will crash the boards from the perimeter.