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Clemson Basketball: Sam Houston State Preview

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Clemson v Kansas Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

Where: Littlejohn Coliseum
When: Wedneday, 7pm
TV: ACC Network Extra (Click here for link)

Sam Houston State Bearcats (Southland Conference)

Current Record: 2-1
Previous Game: 76-69 loss to Louisiana Tech
Last Season: 21-15
Post Season: CIT Semifinals loss to Northern Colorado
Head Coach: Jason Hooten

Projected Starting Lineup

C - Kai Mitchell - JR - 6’7, 245 - 10.2 PPG - 8 RPG
PF - Albert Almanza- SR - 6’6, 195 - 4 PPG, 4.3 RPG
SF/PF - Cameron Delaney - SR - 6’4, 205 - 17 PPG, 5.7 RPG
SG - Chad Bowie - JR - 6’2, 180 - 7 PPG, 4.7 APG, 5.5 RPG
PG - Marcus Harris - SR - 6’0, 180 - 9 PPG, 2.3 APG

Key Reserves

SG/SF - Zach Nutall - FR - 6’3, 185 - 11 PPG, 42% 3pt
PG/G - Josh Delaney - SR - 6’0, 173 - 7.7 PPG, 3.3 APG
SF/PP - R.J. Smith - JR - 6’5, 215 - 9 PPG, 7 RPG

Adjusted Tempo: 71.5 (224th - Slow, but not as slow as Clemson)
Adjusted Offensive Efficiency: 95.4 (297)
Adjusted Defensive Efficiency: 104.8 (255)

Offense:

2 in 3 out

This is the only film I could find on SHSU this year. They ran a 2 in 3 out set for most of this game, with a player at the high and low post. The post players will exchange positions frequently, This might change against Clemson because this is probably their zone offense and I expect the Tigers to play man. This could easily change into a 1 in 4 out look, with the player at the free throw line stepping out.

They lack size and like to score on catch and shoot 3 pointers and dribble drives. Their tallest regular contributor is JUCO transfer Kai Mitchell at 6’7, 240, and he’s more of a rebounder than a post scorer. Expect SHSU to spread out the Clemson defense, attack off the dribble and kick to open shooters once the defense collapses.

Their main scoring option this year is Cameron Delaney. He’s a combo guard that likes to attack the rim and get to the free throw line. He’s been an inconsistent 3-point shooter during his career, and I expect Clemson to play off a little challenge him to make 3’s. He’s a tough kid who has waited his turn at SHSU. I expect him to come out hard against Clemson and try and make a statement.

Defense:

Scrambling Man-to-Man

Sam Houston plays a scrambling man-to-man defense. They like to trap the high screens and help off outside shooters. This is going to pose a problem against Clemson because helping off and trying to pack the lane vs Clemson will not end well for most teams. Expect Clemson to get numerous open 3-point opportunities off penetration or post dump-ins. I hope our shooting shows up on Wednesday night, because they make scoring in the lane difficult.

Elijah Thomas also poses a huge issue on the interior for the the Bearcats. They don’t have anyone with the size and strength to battle with him on the post. I expect to see little used 6’11, 225 pound sophomore big Chidozie Ndu get some run in this game, because he’s the only player on the roster that can at least put up some sort of barrier for Thomas to shoot over. Thomas, however, should dominate any match up on the court. I expect the Tigers to feed him early and often.

Press After Dead Ball

Clemson needs to be cognizant of the fact that SHSU likes to spring the press after dead ball situations. They will try and jump the inbound pass and create quick turnovers. Breaking it is just a matter of being aware that they like to do it. The Tigers 3rd ball handler can’t get complacent and jog down the court. Once you inbound the ball, they’ll give token man pressure on the first pass and retreat. It shouldn’t be a problem for our experienced back court.

Overall

Clemson has too much talent at every position for Sam Houston State to pull the upset without major help. I don’t expect this experienced roster to cooperate and settle for contested jumpers. This thing could get out of hand quickly. If you’re into watching some of our young guys get some burn, this is your opportunity.

It’s nice to have a Clemson basketball team that puts away inferior opponents. It makes writing previews much easier.

Prediction

KenPom: Clemson 82 - SHSU 58 (99%)
Drew: Clemson 94 - SHSU 67