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Clemson Basketball: South Carolina Preview

The Tigers travel to Columbia to face the Cocks tonight. I have no idea what it’s going to look like.

NCAA Basketball: Citadel at Clemson Anderson Independent Mail-USA TODAY Sports

Clemson (1-0) @ South Carolina (1-0)

Friday, 11/11 - 7 PM EST

Armpit of the South - Colonial Life Arena


Clemson Starting Line-Up

# Position Player Class Height Weight Hometown
# Position Player Class Height Weight Hometown
4 Center Ian Schieffelin So 6'7" 230 Loganville, GA
5 Forward Hunter Tyson Sr 6'8" 217 Monroe, NC
12 Wing Alex Hemenway Sr 6'4" 195 Newburgh, IN
11 Wing Brevin Galloway Sr 6'3" 210 Anderson, SC
1 Point Guard Chase Hunter Jr. 6'3" 205 Atlanta, Ga

I went ahead and moved Schieffelin into the starting line-up, even though Ben Middlebrooks started against El Cid. Ian played the vast majority of minutes at the 5. Even if he doesn’t play the first few minutes, he’s the “starter” until P.J. returns. Outside of Schieffelin, everyone Clemson starts has played a ton of college basketball. This should come in handy on the road early in the season. I don’t expect the Tigers to be overwhelmed by the dozens of fans in Columbia tonight.

This line-up lacks a true “star” player, but Chase Hunter has the skill set to step up and grab that role. He was scorching hot in the opener, scoring 19 points in the first half, before cooling off and putting up 5 in the second stanza. Clemson needs him to show up and score tonight. The knock on Chase throughout his career is inconsistency. Sometimes he looks like a guy with NBA potential, sometimes he looks like a guy that walked in off the street. The Tigers in NBA Chase all season if they have designs on playing in a post season tournament.

Hemenway can be one of the better shooters in the ACC when he’s hot, but when he’s not hitting shots, he is a defensive liability. It looks like he’s been putting in some work in the weight room, and he moved well against El Cid. A consistent break-out year from Alex would be huge for the Clemson cause.

Brevin Galloway is a big, physical wing capable of scoring and locking down on the defensive side of the ball. Like Hunter and Hemenway, his issue is consistency. Last year, playing for B.C., he put up 18 against Clemson, and then didn’t crack double digits for another 8 games. He looked solid in the home opener, but needs to follow that up by looking solid in the road opener.

I love Hunter Tyson’s game. When he’s on, he’s a multi-tool wing/forward with the ability to score at all 3 levels and rebound. Sometimes his shots don’t fall, but he always brings intensity and rebounding. Sometimes that intensity gets him in trouble though. His reckless disregard for his own safety on the court is fun to watch, right up until hits the floor and doesn’t get up. A healthy season from Hunter is required for Clemson to go anywhere this season.

Finally, Ian Schieffelin started to come on at the tail end of last season, and that looks to have carried over into this season. He’s playing out of position at center with P.J. out, but he holds his own in the post, despite his lack of height. He plays with a high motor, pulls down boards, and is a deft finisher around the basket.

This line-up is more about the sum of parts, and not individual stars. In the opener, C. Hunter (24), Tyson (20), and Schieffelin (19) carried the bulk of the scoring. Clemson will need a similar, balanced performance tonight if they plan on leaving Columbia with a win.

Clemson Bench

# Position Player Class Height Weight Hometown
# Position Player Class Height Weight Hometown
10 Center Ben Middlebrooks So 6'10" 242 Fort Lauderdale, Fl
2 Guard/Wing Dillon Hunter Fr 6'3" 193 Atlanta, GA
0 Guard/Wing Josh Beadle Fr 6'3" 182 Columbia, SC
22 Wing/Forward R.J. Godfrey Fr 6'7" 225 Suwanee, GA

Clemson has ample experience in the starting line-up, but the bench features 3 freshman and a little used sophomore. Things will get better once P.J. returns and one of the upperclassmen move to the bench, but until then, these guys are going to have to suffice.

Middlebrooks looks like a dominating center, but doesn’t play like a dominating center. Clemson needs him to soak up minutes, grab rebounds, and commit fouls at a minimum, otherwise, Hunter Tyson turns into the back up center.

D. Hunter and Beadle are similar players. I see D. Hunter more as a point guard and Beadle more as a scoring combo guard, but they are interchangeable in many ways. Beadle scored this summer on Clemson’s trip abroad, and the Tigers need him to do the same now that he’s back on U.S. soil. I was disappointed with his playing time and production against The Citadel. He needs to be assertive when he’s on the floor.

Hunter is a freshman, and looks like a freshman at the moment. You can see the talent, but it’s going to take him a while to find his way in college basketball. Best case scenario for Dillon is an occasional scoring flare up off the bench while he calibrates his game to the ACC.

Physically, RJ Godfrey is ready to go straight out of the box. He looks like a senior but plays like a freshman. If he can play defense, rebound, finish around the rim, and put down the occasional highlight reel dunk, I’ll consider his freshman campaign a success. He has the potential to be a star for the Tigers down the road, but the mental and skills portion of his basketball equation still needs refining before that happens.

Clemson Wins If...

Their top 3 scorers from Monday (C. Hunter, Tyson, Schieffelin) produce again tonight. Chase Hunter and Hunter Tyson, in particular, need to lead the way. Schieffelin scoring in the paint would be huge, but Hemenway and Galloway are capable of picking up the slack if he goes for 10 instead of 20.

Until P.J. returns, points are the problem I foresee with this team, and that could be an issue tonight with a South Carolina team that has the potential to fill it up. 5* freshman G.G. Jackson put up 18 in his first career game, and will always look to attack. Hunter Tyson and R.J. Godfrey will look to hold him down, but at some point, he’s going to go off.

Clemson Loses If...

The offense doesn’t travel. Consistent scoring has always been an issue for Brad Brownell. Things look good for a while, and then they’ll string together 7 or 8 empty possessions where it looks like they’ve never played together before. Having a guy like P.J. Hall helps with that, because “throw the ball inside and let the big man work” is a great way to break out of a scoring slump. He’s not available tonight. Someone needs to step up and handle things when shots stop falling, Chase Hunter and Hunter Tyson have that ability, but I haven’t done so consistently in their careers. Now would be a nice time start.



Clemson - 77

South Carolina - 72


Clemson 69

South Carolina 70

48% certainty

Ken Pom sees this game as a toss-up, and I think that’s right. I like the Tiger’s experience to pay dividends tonight. Hunter Tyson limits Jackson (or at least makes him work for it) and the Tigers scrape together enough scoring to pull this one out on the road. This could be a nice win come resume time, because I expect the Gamecocks to get significantly better as the season moves along. I’m glad we get them in the second game.