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Hoops Preview: Clemson at Florida State

Clemson looks to avoid the banana peel in Tallahassee

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

The 11th ranked Tigers (pause to catch breath after typing, regain composure, sip some water, take a lap around the house) roll into Tallahassee on a historic run in a historic season.

The Virginia game certainly looked like an ominous harbinger of things to come in the post Donte Grantham world, but this team has a toughness I can only assume comes from being on the wrong end of so many close games in their career.

They managed to shake off the horror of the Virginia game and reel off four straight victories, including an always delicious win over the Tar Heels. The Tigers are one of the hottest teams in the nation right now but come in as road dogs vs the mercurial Seminoles.

This is a serious banana peel game. Clemson should beat Florida State, but Florida State has the talent to beat Clemson. These are the type of games that worry me, because I have no idea which Florida State team is going to show up.

Who: FSU
What: Basketball, a sport Clemson excels at.
When: 7 PM EST
Where: Tallanasty, FL
What Channel: ACC Network/FSS (Local Listings)

FSU So Far:

Record: 17-8 (6-7 in ACC play)
PPG: 82.9 (27th nationally)
Rebounds per Game: 39.2 (29th)
Assists per Game: 15.7 (59th)
Points Allowed: 73.2 (200th)

Leonard Hamilton is one of the most frustrating coaches in the nation.

If Brad Brownell recruited like Leonard Hamilton, we would probably already be playing on Brownell court at Littlejohn Coliseum.

If Brad Brownell coached like Leonard Hamilton he would be looking for a job.

Hamilton can bring in the talent, but once it gets to Tallahassee, it is just sort of tossed on the court, and things either happen or they don’t.

On paper, this Florida State team is more talented than Clemson. On the actual court, this Clemson team is better than Florida State.

One thing I will say about this Florida State team is that they are exceptionally deep. They will go 9-10 deep with talented athletes, and they want to play a wide open game.

Key Players:

Terance Mann: 14.5 PPG, 6 RPG

Mann is one of those Florida State athletes that just leave you shaking your head. At 6’6”, 215, he is what you imagine a wing player to look like. Mann lives to attack the basket, which is good, because he can’t shoot.

Luckily for Clemson, Donte Grantham will be the (NO, NO, NO, DONTE PLEASE DON’T BE HURT ANYMORE)...ahem, I mean, unfortunately, with Grantham out, I anticipate seeing a good bit of Skara on the court to match up with Mann.

Skara should be fine on defense, but he brings little to the table on the offensive side of the floor. Mann, however, is simply too long and athletic to match up against any of our 3 starting guards. If we roll with either Devoe or Reed, Mann is putting his head down and getting to the rim and Eli is probably going to have 3 fouls in the first 10 minutes of the game trying to defend the rim against the attacking Mann.

Braian Angola: 13.4 PPG, 38% 3pt

Angola is another sleek wing for the Seminoles. Unlike Mann, who does his damage driving the the basket, Angola is the Seminoles long range bomber. Luckily for Clemson, he comes into the game mired in an abysmal shooting slump that has seen him go 1-11 from 3 over the last 2 games, and 2-17 overall.

That said, one of those games was against Virginia, so it almost shouldn’t count. Angloa is a guy capable of scoring in bunches, and doing so against elite competition. He hung 23 on Duke (5-12 3 pt) (Note: Duke is putrid on defense and no amount of floor slapping is going to change that) and 20 on UNC (3-7 3 pt).

Angola may be in a slump, but I don’t think it’s a good idea to challenge him. He’s 6’6, which makes for a tricky match up for either Reed or Devoe, but he can be muscled up on defense because of his slight build. He’s listed at 195 pounds, but that’s probably on a heavy day.


This is a big game for Clemson. I want this win already in the bag when we face Duke, because that will be the far tougher match up for the Tigers this week.

Clemson can’t let Florida State dictate the tempo of the game. They want to get out and run (36th fastest tempo in the country compared to Clemson at 283rd) and are capable of putting up crazy numbers when things click for them (103 vs Miami, 101 vs Syracuse, 100 vs Duke).

They are equally capable of laying an egg. They only put up 69 in a blowout loss against an injury depleted and defensively deficient Notre Dame team their last time out. To be fair, it’s possible they were suffering from a UVA hangover.

Clemson can’t count on bad FSU showing up, which means Gabe, Quise and the boys better bring their shooting shoes with them. FSU likes to score points, but they are terrible at preventing people from scoring.

Clemson doesn’t want this game to turn into a shoot out, but when FSU gets rolling, sometimes you’re just forced to outscore them. Clemson has the ability to outscore them, if, and only if, the three-point shot is dropping.

There will be plenty off good looks all over the court for the Tigers and Eli should be able to eat in the post, but the Tigers are going to have to keep a tight handle on the ball and score efficiently to pull out the road win.


KenPom gives the Tigers a 45% chance to win. Ranked at 23 by KenPom, this would be the Tigers second best road win (Ohio State #12) and lend optimism for what this team can do away from Littlejohn in the ACC and NCAA tournaments.

Clemson: 79 FSU: 72