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Clemson Basketball: Miami Preview

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The Tigers Battle the Hurricanes on New Years Eve!

COLLEGE BASKETBALL: DEC 22 Yale at Clemson Photo by John Byrum/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Clemson Tigers vs Miami Hurricanes

Tuesday, December 31st, 4PM EST

Littlejohn Coliseum, Clemson, South Carolina

Miami Hurricanes (8-3)

Miami has been a consistent but not particularly inspiring squad so far this season. They’ve beaten the teams they should beat, lost to the teams they should lose to. Clemson can’t say the same. This match up is dependent on which Clemson teams shows up to play today.

Miami Starting Line Up

PG: #0 - Chris Lykes - Jr - 5’7, 165 - 14.9 PPG, 2.8 AST

SG: #1 - DeJan Vasiljevic - Jr - 6’3, 185 - 15.4 PPG, 3.6 AST

SF: #23 - Kameron McGusty - Jr - 6’5, 190 - 15.2 PPG, 5 REB

PF: #21 - Sam Waardenburg - Jr - 6’10, 216 - 6.7 PPG, 6.4 REB

C: #14 - Rodney Miller - Jr - 7’0, 255 - 6.5 PPG, 5.4 REB

Key Bench

G: #5 - Harlond Beverly - Fr - 6’4, 185 - 7.8 PPG, 2.5 AST

F: #4 - Keith Stone - Sr - 6’8, 244 - 5.3 PPG, 2.8 REB

Offense

Miami is has the 17th most efficient offense in the nation according to KenPom. They are a guard oriented team who live and die by the 3 ball. This season, they’ve mostly lived by it, shooting 39.7% from deep, good for 9th overall in the nation. They also value the basketball and come in with the 10th best turnover percentage overall.

They’ll look to spread Clemson out, drive the ball and then kick out to willing shooter. Chris Lykes runs the show for the Hurricanes. He’s a a small, lightning quick guard who can drive the ball at will and is a willing and capable shooter from deep if you play off. He’ll be a problem for the Tigers if the defense can’t keep him out of the lane.

Flanking Lykes are two capable scorers in McGusty and Vasiljevic. McGusty is a long wing who can both drive the ball to the basket and hit the deep ball. He’s been somewhat erratic from deep this year, and I expect Clemson to challenge him to hit a few before they come all the way out on him. Vasiljevic, on the other hand, should never be left. He’s one of the best shooters in the nation, shooting 47.1 from deep. Look for him to capitalize on drive and kicks from Lykes and McGusty. Clemson can’t leave him open or he’ll bury them.

Inside, the Hurricanes have a couple big guys who set screens, rebound, and protect the hoop. Don’t look for many post up today. The Miami bigs are on the court to support the guards and do the dirty work. They’ll clean up a few offensive rebounds, and dunk a few off assists, but other than that, don’t expect too much for any of the Miami bigs in terms of offense.

Defense

Miami is not a good defensive team. Lykes and Vasiljevic can both be exposed on the perimeter. You can bully the tiny Lykes and can exploit Vasiljevic on the drive. Clemson has to punish the Miami guards and draw fouls early and often. The Bigs are essentially interchangeable, but if Clemson can get at least one of the major perimeter scorers in foul trouble, they’ll have a better shot of winning the game.

Keys For Clemson

It’s simple. Clemson has to score the basketball.

That’s it, that’s what it’s going to come down to this year. If Clemson can’t score, they can’t win. They couldn’t score against Yale, and they lost. If they can’t score against Miami, they will lose. Aamir Simms has to bring more to the table on offense, and I’m not sure he’s capable of scoring on a regular basis.

Tevin Mack needs to be Clemson’s 2nd best player, but he’s also been plagued with inconsistency throughout his career. When he’s good, he’s excellent, but he’s not good that often, and it’s not because he doesn’t have the physical talent or skill level. He just has a tendency to get lost on the court.

On defense, Clemson has to keep the game in the 60’s, because I’m not sure the offense could hit 70 against a church league team. They’ll need to contain Lykes and McGusty on the drive and not over help off shooters. Miami wants to collapse your defense and kick the ball out. Clemson loves to collapse their defense and give up open 3’s. They need to get their on ball defense figured out tonight.

Overall

I don’t like this match up for Clemson. Miami has capable scorers, and Clemson can’t score.

Sometimes basketball is a simple game.

Predictions

KenPom

Clemson 71 - Miami - 69 (57% Confidence)

Drew

Clemson 57 - Miami 73