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Clemson Basketball - Minnesota Preview

Daniel Oturu is a problem for the Tigers...a big, problem.

Colorado v Clemson Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images

Clemson (5-2) vs Minnesota (3-4)

When: Monday, December 2, 2019 - 9 PM EST

Where: Williams Arena aka “The Barn” - Minneapolis Minnesota

How to Watch: ESPN2

Minnesota Starting 5

PG - #5 - Marcus Carr - So - 6’2, 195 - 13 PPG, 5.9 REBPG, 6.3 ASTPG

G - #0 - Payton Willis - Jr - 6’4, 200 - 12.9 PPG, 3.1 REBPG, 2.1 ASTPG

G - #22 - Gabe Kalscheur - So - 6’4, 200 - 11.7 PPG, 2.1 REBPG

F - #30 - Alihan Demir - Sr - 6’9, 235 - 7.7 PPG, 3.7 REBPG, 2 AST

C - #25 - Daniel Oturu - So - 6’10, 240 - 17 PPG, 11.9 REBPG, 3.3 BLKPG

Off the Bench

F - #21 - Jarvis Omersa - So - 6’6, 235 - 3.6 PPG, 3.3 REBPG

G - #1- Tre’ Williams - Fr - 6’5, 195 - 3.3 PPG, 1.9 REBPG

Key Match-Up

Daniel Oturu vs Everyone

This is about as bad of a match up as Clemson will have this season. Oturu is a beast on the inside, capable of carrying Minnesota to a win by himself. Last time out in a losing effort against Depaul he went for 19 points, 18 rebounds, and 4 blocks. Simply put, Clemson doesn’t have an answer for him.

Expect the Tigers to mix up their double teams in man. Aamir Simms is the match up early on, but he’s too valuable on offense to get in foul trouble early. If he’s guarding Oturu without help, he’ll likely log 7 minutes in the first half and sit with 2 fouls. The guards are going to have to apply ball pressure to prevent the entry passes, and Simms is going to need the entire squad to crash down and prevent Oturu from fouling out Simms and scoring 40 points.

For those of you wondering about the 2-3 zone Brownell has employed this year. On paper it sounds like a good idea until you realize that they aren’t great at rebounding out of the 203 and Minnesota has a rebounding monster inside. When Clemson plays zone, they must team rebound and get a body on Oturu, otherwise missed shots are as good as assists for Minnesota.

Player Most Likely to Kill Clemson From the Perimeter

It’s in Clemson’s basketball charter that at least one opposing player be allowed to lose consciousness from the outside and wake up after the game with 4+ 3’s. Sometimes it’s hard to figure out who this player will be, because it could literally be anyone on the roster, including the 6’9, 310 pound power forward that started playing basketball his senior year of high school.

I think the Clemson killer in this game will be Payton Willis. He hoisted up 12 3’s against Depaul (only making 4) but he’s got the bright green light when he walks in the gym. Minnesota will either put him on the same side of the court as Oturu and put the defense in a bind on the double team, or they will put him in the opposite corner and reverse the ball off the double team to the corner.

After Willis’s 3rd 3 of the night, I will be screaming “how do you leave their best shooter wide open.” He will proceed to hit 3 more wide open 3’s and I will at some point toss a couch pillow in disgust and then apologize to the dog for waking her up.

Minnesota Wins If...


Oturu dominates the paint and gets Simms in early foul trouble. Outside of Simms, the Tigers don’t have anyone capable of guarding Oturu. If Trey Jeminson has to play more than 15 minutes in this game, you’ll know things are going poorly.


It’s a simple formula to beat Clemson. Don’t let Mack and Simms both get hot in the same game. If Mack and Simms both start working, it allows players like Al-Amir Dawes or John Newman space to step up and become the 3rd scoring option. When either Mack or Simms are off and Clemson needs someone to step up into the 2nd scoring option role, things get ugly.

Clemson Wins If...


It’s going to be the same formula for Clemson all season. They win if Simms and Mack can stay on the court and somehow manage to both have solid games on the same night. They are a talented yet frustratingly inconsistent duo. If they both get cooking during the same game, Clemson can play with anyone. Maybe tonight is the night they sync up their good games.


They make Oturu work hard for his points. He’s going to score, but Clemson has to make him as inefficient as possible. He’s currently shooting 60% from the floor. If the Tigers can limit him to 40-50% and not give him cheap and 1’s at the basket they’ve got a shot. Also, they can’t let a Gopher get hot from the outside and negate all their hard work in the post. Defensive rotation will be crucial in this game.


As I mentioned, Oturu is as bad of a match up as any in the nation for Clemson. I don’t see the Tigers being able to mitigate the damage he’s capable of inflicting on the score board or the glass. Clemson’s best bet is for him to attack him early and try to put him on the bench with foul trouble. He’s only averaging a little more than 2 fouls a game, so that’s harder said than done.

It’s hard to win in Minnesota, and I don’t think Clemson has the bodies down low to pull off the mild upset.



Minnesota 67 - Clemson 64 (40% Confidence)


Minnesota 77 - Clemson 68