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Clemson to Face No. 25 Iowa in Emerald Coast Classic

The success or failure of Clemson’s non-conference slate will be determined Thanksgiving weekend.

Syndication: HawkCentral Joseph Cress/Iowa City Press-Citizen / USA TODAY NETWORK

Date: Friday, November 25th
Time: 7:00pm
Channel: CBS Sports Network
Location: Raider Arena at Northwest Florida State - Niceville, FL

Clemson is a participant in the Emerald Coast Classic. The tournament takes place across the bay from Destin in Niceville, Florida. Iowa and TCU are the other marquee participants. Recent tournament winners had gone on to have successful seasons. The past three winners include LSU, FSU, and Cincinnati. All three received NCAA tournament invitations with a 7-seed or better.

On Friday, the Tigers will face the No. 25 Iowa Hawkeyes. Iowa is 4-0 with a road win over Seton Hall. They are No. 16 in KenPom’s advanced stat rankings and earned a 5-seed in last year’s NCAA tournament before being upset by Richmond.

Last season, Keegan Murray led the Hawkeyes with 23.5 points per game and 8.7 rebounds per game. Fortunately for Clemson, he was the fourth overall pick in the NBA draft. Less fortunate for Clemson, his identical twin brother, Kris Murray now leads the Hawkeyes with 23.8 points and is second on the team with 8.0 rebounds per game.

Kris Murray is 6-foot-8 and will be the first elite forward the Tigers have faced. Clemson may be thin in the backcourt, but the forwards and centers are the strength of the team. PJ Hall doesn’t appear to be fully healthy, but he will be needed for a stalwart defensive performance defending the rim. Kris Murray is Iowa’s leading 3-point shooter with 11 (.478 3P%). With that kind of range, it may be Hunter Tyson who is the primary defender trying to stop Murray. That’s the matchup to watch.

Iowa is good defensively, but elite offensively. They have the lowest turnover percentage in college basketball. They don’t heavily rely on 3-pointers but make them at an excellent 39.8% clip. Iowa also has good size beyond just Kris Murray and will make it tough for Clemson to score around the basket. Clemson may need a virtuoso performance from guard Chase Hunter to have a chance in this one. He leads Clemson with 16.2 points and 4.8 assists.

KenPom gives Clemson a 24% chance to win. They’ll play again on Saturday, but most will have their eyes glued to Rivalry Week in the college football world. Before that, but sure to flip to CBS Sports Network on Friday and see if the Tigers are giving Iowa a good fight. It would make for a great kickoff into a weekend that should include stomping the Gamecocks on the gridiron.