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Clemson Basketball: FSU Preview

The Tigers last stand comes tomorrow. It’s beat a great team or bust at Littlejohn.

COLLEGE BASKETBALL: FEB 22 Clemson at Boston College Photo by Fred Kfoury III/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Clemson Vs #6 Florida State

When: 2 PM EST

Where: Little John Coliseum, God’s Country, SC

How: Fox Sports Carolina

Clemson 14-13 (8-9 ACC)

Well, this is it, the Tigers last stand. It’s do or tournament die (barring a miracle run in the ACC Tournament) for Clemson tomorrow afternoon against one of the best teams in the nation.

Win, and Clemson gets a chance to win their next 2 games and still be alive for an at-large bid. Lose, and it’s hoping for the NIT. Brad’s crew is coming off a tough road loss to Georgia Tech that would be understandable if there weren’t some other bad losses on the resume. Losing to a pretty good Georgia Tech team on the road isn’t bad unless you have to beat them.

It was a disappointing performance for pretty much everyone not named Aamir Simms in Atlanta. Clemson is going to need all hands on deck to handle this FSU squad. If Aamir is the only one that shows up to play, it’s going to be a long afternoon.

FSU - 24-4 (14-3 ACC)

The Seminoles choke slammed Louisville in Tallahassee in their last game and come in riding a 4 game winning streak. They’re one of the hottest teams in the country, and if you don’t bring your A game they will ruthlessly punish you for 40 minutes.

Starting Line Up

F - #1 - Raiquan Gray - SO - 6’8, 260 - 6.1 PTS, 3.7 REB

F - #10 - Malik Osborne - SO - 6’9, 215 - 6 PTS, 4.9 REB

G - #23 - M.J. Walker - JR - 6’5, 213 - 10.6 PTS, 1.8 REB

G - #3 - Trent Forrest - SR - 6’4, 210 - 11.7 PTS, 4.2 AST

G - #24 - Devin Vassell - SO - 6’6, 180 - 12.9 PTS, 5.1 REB

Key Bench Players

F - #4 - Patrick Williams - FR - 6’8, 225 - 9.4 PTS, 3.8 REB

G - #2 - Anthony Polite - SO - 6’6, 215 - 6.1 PTS, 3.1 REB

FSU Offense

The Seminoles have a balanced attack featuring a squad full of long, athletic guys that want to dunk the soul out of your body on every possession. They’re good across the board as far as offensive metrics go. The one metric that stands out is their ability to snag offensive rebounds. They are rebounding 33.8% of their misses which could be a problem for the undersized Tigers. In their blowout loss in Tallahassee, the Tigers did a surprisingly good job on the boards, holding the Noles to a +2 rebound advantage on the game. It’s going to take that kind of effort, for Clemson on Saturday if they have any chance to pull the upset.

In terms of an individual player, Trent Forrest is the heart on soul of this team. He runs the FSU offense and thrives in transition. He put Jordan Nwora on a poster in the Louisville game and will try to do the same to a Clemson player at some point on Saturday. I would say that this is a good match up for Clyde Trapp, but I get a sinking feeling that something is physically wrong with Clyde. His minutes have been cut in the last 2 games and his production has been limited. If Clyde can’t go, I think John Newman III might draw the assignment. Whoever, is guarding Forrest, they’ve got to contain him off the dribble or he will drive and score, or drive and kick all game long.

FSU Defense

What can you say about this FSU defense?

They’ve got a bunch of long armed athletes that can jump out of the gym and close a passing lane quicker than a defensive end getting to a Florida State quarterback. They are one of the best steal and blocked shots teams in the nation. Their 16.4% block rate is good for second best and their 12.7% steal rate is good from 9th overall. This team wants to turn you over, and after they turn you over, they want to score in transition.

The only way I see Clemson beating this team is if they slow the game down, somehow limit turnovers, and go thermonuclear from 3. The one weakness this FSU team has on defense is their ability to defend the 3. That’s the only place I see that Clemson could potentially attack them and score enough to win the game. It’s going to take patient, at some times plodding offense, and clutch late shot clock 3-point shooting to win this one for the Tigers, and I’m not sure they’re capable of pulling it off.


The game plan, in my opinion is simple. Slow the game down to a crawl, attack late in the shot clock and hit 3’s. The execution of that game plan is the difficult part. Every team that plays FSU goes into the game with that plan, and only 4 teams have come out with the victory over the Noles.

If Clemson wins, this game has to be in the 60’s, and Aamir Simms has to be the best player on the court for either team.

That’s a tough ask.



Clemson 64 - FSU 67 - 60% Confidence


Clemson 57 - FSU 65

I think Clemson is successful at slowing the game down, but not successful in scoring enough to win.

This is a bad match-up.