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Clemson Basketball: Miami Preview

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Clemson takes on the Hurricanes in Littlejohn Coliseum today

Pittsburgh v Miami Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images

Clemson (14-5) vs Miami (7-14)

2 PM EST - ACC Network Extra

Clemson, South Carolina - Home to the soon to be ranked Clemson Tigers basketball team

Running A Little Behind

Hey y’all, sorry this is a little late, but honestly, I could take the easy way out and give you a once sentence preview.

If Clemson shows up and brings at least their B game, they will win.

Miami isn’t a good basketball team. Clemson is a...gulp...good basketball team?

Miami on Offense

Sophomore guard Isaiah Wong is the Miami offense. If he goes off, the Hurricanes have a chance, and he’s coming off a 29 point performance against Florida State. He took over the scoring load after All-ACC Chris Lykes was lost for the season with an ankle injury and has done a good job, averaging 17 points a game.

Wong is a high volume shooter and will get his shots up one way or another. He’s in love with the deep 3 and will pull up and let it fly at the slightest provocation. He’s not particularly efficient at hitting them, but when you take enough, eventually a few drop. Clemson’s job on defense is to make him take contested 3’s because he’s going to fire them contested or open.

The Tigers are looking to force him into a state line like he had in his last road game against Notre Dame. He scored 17 points, but did so on 6-16 shooting, including a 3-9 offering from 3. They need to avoid his stat line against Florida state where he scored an efficient 29 points on 9-16 shooting, including going 4-5 from deep. He’s going to score, because he’s going to take a bunch of shots, but the Tigers need to make him as inefficient as possible.

Other than Wong, guards Kam McGusty and Elijah Olaniyi are the other two potential scoring threats on the team. McGusty, in particular, worries me a little because he has the potential to put up big numbers. In the Hurricanes few wins, it’s mostly been a Wong/McGusty combo that has pushed them over the top. McGusty is a more efficient scorer than Wong, but he’s an even worse 3 point shooter. He’s shooting 26% on the season and is coming off a 1-8 brickfest against the Noles. Now is not the time for him to get hot from deep, but Clemson inevitably lets someone get hot for 3. Hopefully it’s not McGusty because he can score in bunches if he gets things figured out.

Miami on Defense

This is all about Clemson’s offense, because if they’re playing well, Miami won’t be able to slow them down. They’ve given up over 80 points in their last two games, and haven’t given up less than 70 since a win over NC State on January 9th. If Clemson cracks 70, I’m confident in the Tigers ability to hold the Hurricanes significantly under that number.

In order to hit 70+ points, it’s going to be a familiar formula for the Tigers. They’re going to play a bunch of guys in the first half, tire out the Hurricanes with body blows, and then look for the knock out in the 2nd half.

Aamir needs to put up his usually 15-20 points and get some help from two of the guards. Against Wake, those two guards were Nick Honor and Alex Hemenway. I’d love to see Dawes break out of his funk at home today. He hasn’t cracked double digits since putting up 15 against Louisville on January 27th, and was shut out against the Demon Deacons on Wednesday. I don’t think Clemson can hit their true potential this year without Dawes snapping out of whatever it is that is bothering him. Today would be a nice day for a break out performance.

One player to keep an eye on is Hunter Tyson. When he’s good, Clemson is extremely hard to beat. His ability to stretch the defense from the power forward position brings the offense to a totally different level. He’s got the ability, but has yet to consistently put it together. I think he’s finally back to full strength after getting his face cracked like a hard boiled egg, and is due for a breakout game.

Miami is a team you can “get right” against, and Dawes and Tyson getting right today would provide a huge boost of confidence for the stretch run.

Overall

Good teams win home conference games against bad teams. We know Miami is a bad team, but we’ll see if Clemson is a good team. They brought their defense against Wake, but outside of Hemenway going off from deep, the offense wasn’t good. It needs to be better today, and I think it will be better at home.

KenPom

Clemson 69 - Miami 56 - 87% Confidence

DrewSchnei

Clemson 77 - Miami 62 - 90% Confidence

I like the Tigers big today at home. The spread is 13 points, and Clemson covers with Simms going off for 20+.