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Clemson Basketball: Florida State Preview

We take an in-depth look into a crucial ACC road game for the Tigers.

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

Where: Donald L. Tucker Civic Center, Tallahasse, FL
When: 7 P.M. (EST) Tuesday, January 22, 2019

Florida State Seminoles

Current Record: 13-5
ACC Record: 1-4
Previous Game: 87 - 81 loss to Boston College ( On 3 game losing streak)
Head Coach: Leonard Hamilton

Projected Starting Lineup

C - #21 - SR - Christ Koumadje - 7’4, 268 - 6.3 PPG, 5.5 RPG, 1.7 BPG

F - #14 - SR - Terance Mann - 6’7, 215 - 11.6 PPG, 6.3 RPG, 39% 3pt

F - #5 - SR - PJ Savoy - 6’4, 210 - 7.7 PPG, 2 RPG

SG - #23 - SO - MJ Walker - 6’5, 213 - 7.5 PPG, 1.8 APG, 1.1 SPG

PG - #3 - JR - Trent Forrest - 6’4, 210 - 9.9 PPG, 4.9 RPG, 3.6 APG, 2.1 SPG

Key Reserves

PF - #0 - SR - Phil Cofer - 6’8, 230 - 24.6 MIN, 9.0 PPG, 3.3 RPG (starter when fully healthy)

C - #25 - SO - Mfiondu Kabengele - 6’10, 250 - 18.6 MIN, 12.6 PPG, 5.2 RPG, 1 BPG

G - #11 - SR - David Nichols - 6’1, 185 - 18.7 MIN, 7.1 PPG, 1.3 APG

Advanced Statistics Comparison

Kenpom Ranking

Florida State - 33

Clemson - 46

Adjusted Tempo

Florida State - 70.3 (95th)

Clemson - 67.5 (232nd)

Adjusted Offensive Efficiency

Florida State - 112 (38)

Clemson - 108.7 (79)

Adjusted Defensive Efficiency

Florida State - 94.6 (32)

Clemson - 94.9 (34)

Miscellaneous Stats

Offensive Rebounding Percentage (OR%)

Florida State - 36.8% (13)

Clemson - 28.3 (180)

Defensive Rebounding Percentage (DR%)

Note: Percentages indicate how well each team has grabbed available rebounds and prevented offensive rebounds.

Florida State - 70.6 (221)

Clemson - 76.8 (12)

Offensive 3 Point Percentage

Florida State - 31.3 (291)

Clemson - 31.3 (293)

Defensive 3 Point Percentage

Florida State - 34.6 (208)

Clemson - 36.9 (299)

Block Percentage (Defense)

Florida State - 12.6 (49)

Clemson - 11.3 (79)

Steal Percentage (Defense)

Florida State - 11.4 (29)

Clemson - 10 (86)


Basic Set: 1 in 4 Out


Florida State’s offense is not a thing of beauty. They just get it towards the rim by any means necessary and try to out athlete you at the basket.

On this possession you see them spread the floor with their 4 out look, dribble drive, and then toss up the lob over the center stepping up to help on the drive. This is a common concept in their offense.


This is the Florida Stateiest possession I could find. Again, it’s ugly, real ugly, but they have a squad of great athletes that go get the ball and eventually figure out a way to get it to go in the basket.

Florida State makes their living beating you to lose balls and rebounds. Clemson will have to be geared up and ready to go from the tip, because they have to match FSU’s energy if they want a chance to win on the road.

Offensive Rebounding

Once again, FSU spreads the court, puts something towards the rim and then tries to figure out how to make it go in the basket.

They spread the floor, not so much to shoot, but to make it a 1-on-1 rebounding battle under the basket. When it’s their athlete vs your athlete, they like their chances.

Like Clemson, they don’t shoot the three well. Clemson shoots two-pointers at a higher clip, but Florida State is exceptional at using their size and athleticism to generate extra opportunities. Keeping them off the glass will be key.



High Pressure

When FSU is dialed in on defense, they make it difficult for you to get into your sets.

You’ll notice on this play, they jam the wing entry into Duke’s set. They want you to waste as much time as possible getting into your sets. Notice that Duke can’t get the ball anywhere close to where they want it to go until 10 seconds left on the shot clock.

They have active hands and jump passing lanes. Clemson can’t get frustrated and force bad shots or bad passes. FSU is going to get some stops, but you can’t give them live ball turnovers.

Shot Blockers Everywhere

Getting to the rim and finishing at the rim against FSU are two totally different animals. The Seminoles will gamble for steals, and you can also catch them with back cuts, but once you get to the rim, it’s usually tough sledding.

This is Zion getting swatted. I wonder how many times he’s had a shot totally erased in his life? Clemson will have to be strong around the basket and look to draw fouls (and hit free throws) to compete with FSU around the rim.


This is a battle of two poor outside shooting teams that play solid defense. Clemson needs Reed to score, and FSU’s length on the outside is a huge concern. Last year at FSU, Reed put up 23 points, but needed 21 shots to get there. Clemson relies on Reed’s scoring, and FSU can give smaller guards fits with their length. Reed is going to need to have his pull up jumper on point if the Tigers are going to pull this one out.

Elijah Thomas is the other obvious key for the Tigers, and the big man will have to hold his own on the defensive glass. FSU will isolate him in the post on defense and try to beat him to the offensive glass. Thomas has to put a body the athletic (or giant, in the case of Koumadje) FSU players first and then get the ball. If you don’t box out, they will go over or around you and punish the rim. Thomas must stay out of foul trouble for Clemson to have a chance.

Florida State is coming off a tough loss to Boston College. Their return flight was delayed only exasperating the short turnaround between the Sunday road game and Tuesday’s game against Clemson. Additionally, PF Phil Cofer, who scored 17 and 21 in his two games against Clemson may be out with a foot injury. At 6’8” with a .433 3P%, he’s exactly the type of player who could do serious damage against this year’s Tiger squad. These factors may give Clemson a better than expected chance to win.

In the end though, Clemson struggles with athletic teams, and FSU is only a small step down from Duke in terms of pure athleticism. The Seminoles have their backs against the wall with a surprising 1-4 ACC record (following their Elite Eight run and then impressive non-conference showing). The Tigers need to hope for a solid shooting night to counteract the Seminole defense, because I can’t see Clemson winning without hitting a fair amount of 3-pointers. I don’t believe in Clemson’s ability to shoot, as my prediction indicates.

I hope I’m wrong.

KenPom: Florida State 73 - Clemson 67 (30% Confidence)

Drew: Florida State 65 - Clemson 59