Location: Littlejohn Coliseum
TV: ACCNX & ESPN+
I hope everyone has had a great Thanksgiving. I’m thankful for many, many things and being able to “talk” Clemson football and basketball on STS is on the list! Thanks to all of you who take the time to visit our site and read our article! We appreciate you!
Clemson returns to action after a disappointing end to the Charleston Classic last week. The Tigers looked great destroying Temple and had a very good St. Bonaventure team on the ropes before falling apart down the stretch.
The flu bug struck the team and definitely had an impact on the final game against West Virginia. The Tigers had control of that game even still until a late WVU run coincided with a poor stretch of play from Clemson’s veteran guard combination of Nick Honor and Al-Amir Dawes. I poked a little fun in the byline about the technical foul Clemson got for putting 6 players on the floor. Obviously that was an egregious error as the Tigers were down one possession with a chance to extend the game when it happened. I’m quite certain nobody feels worse or more embarrassed by it than Coach Brownell and his staff so I am not going to belabor it.
The tournament was a good measuring stick for this year’s Tigers. We saw that the Tigers can certainly compete at a high level when the guard play is as good as it was at times. Hunter Tyson and PJ Hall are a very good 1-2 punch as the PF/C combo, though both were less than 100% for the West Virginia game. Naz Bohannon did some good things as a bit of a point-forward vs. the heavy pressure WVU was putting on the Tiger guards. David Collins is a slight upgrade to Clyde Trapp in my opinion, but his free throw shooting is problematic for a guy who is going to shoot a lot of them.
The downside is that Dawes and Honor are undersized and struggle to get to the free throw line. I thought West Virginia got increasingly physical with them and they didn’t hold up that well and didn’t get calls from the refs (and smaller players tend to not get them at this level). The starters are having to carry the vast majority of the scoring load so far.
It is still very early in the season but the Tigers are inside the top 60 in offensive efficiency and currently 4th in 3-point shooting percentage! I don’t know if that 3-point shooting clip can be sustained, but if the efficiency can remain in the top 60, this team will be in contention for an NCAA bid and likely get one in my opinion. Clemson’s top 5 must to stay healthy for sure.
Charleston Southern comes in for what should be a “breather” game for the Tigers before they dive into deeper waters with the ACC/Big Ten challenge and ACC play. The Bucs have faced three high major teams (including GT and Wake from the ACC) and have gotten blown out all three times. The Tigers should overwhelm CSU defensively as they can do to a lot of teams. It will be important to build confidence with the bench if at all possible. Chase Hunter, Naz Bohannon, Ian Scheiffelin, and Alex Hemenway (who missed the last two games with the flu) are going to be the primary guys in the rotation. Each has shown flashes so far but nothing that has been consistent.
The Tigers are running a lot more ball screen action so far this season than I remember last year. PJ Hall is a good guy to run that with because he can pick and pop as well as roll and punish switches should they occur. This team just has to show it can finish games against high major teams, and part of that is finding players and plays that you can lean on. Clemson doesn’t have that just yet as evidenced by the shot clock violations and issues late against WVU. The Tigers can hopefully work to find some things they can lean on during these next few games before full conference play gets going.
Overall, the Tigers are doing enough to give me a little hope this season can be good, but I know to be very cautiously optimistic when it comes to Clemson basketball. The Tigers should roll in this one. KenPom likes the Tigers 82-57. I think Clemson holds CSU under 50 and wins 70-46.