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Clemson Basketball: Louisville Preview / Open Thread

The Tigers look to reach 6-0 in ACC play.

NCAA Basketball: Clemson at Pittsburgh Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Coming on the heels of a thrilling 75-74 win at Pittsburgh, tonight’s game against lowly 2-14 Louisville might seem a little less exciting, but the opportunity to improve to 6-0 in conference play for the first time in program history should be enough to get you watching. Keeping their win streak alive is crucial for Clemson’s NCAA tournament hopes and momentum as they approach the meat of their ACC schedule.

The Cardinals are having a horrifically bad season, ranking 315 out of 363 Division I teams in the Ratings Percentage Index (278th by KenPom). They average 62.6 PPG, have just one player averaging more than 9 PPG (El Ellis), and are dead-last in offense and defense in the ACC. They are facing a 4% chance to win in Littlejohn Coliseum per

By nearly all metrics, Clemson should comfortably put the Cards away without any real danger on Wednesday. Louisville has played their last two opponents close, however, and will no doubt be all too happy to spoil Clemson’s fun. Senior G El Ellis is the centerpiece of this Louisville offense. Preventing him from having a career night will be crucial to putting this one away for Clemson.

The Tigers have a number of players performing at a high level, perhaps none more than Hunter Tyson, who has collected double-doubles in each of his last four games. With Alex Hemenway still sidelined with a foot injury, Brownell has featured his bench a bit more, including the 6-foot-7 F Ian Schieffelin and freshman F RJ Godfrey. This depth has thus far proved capable of providing enough for Clemson to close out tight games.

It’s time to buy in with this Tiger team. As Ryan Kantor highlighted in his mid-season evaluation of this team, expectations are now to make the tourney and absolutely nothing less. Clemson should have little trouble walking over Louisville with the way both teams have been playing this season, and if all goes well we will get to watch the Tigers continue their best start in program history for conference play!

Join us in the comments section below during the game for discussion as we watch the Tigers play.