clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Clemson Basketball: Boston College Preview

This is as close to a must win game as you’ll find in January. Clemson needs to show up.

NCAA Basketball: Boston College at Syracuse Mark Konezny-USA TODAY Sports

Boston College (10-5) ACC (1-3) - Ken Pom #87

Game Information

Game Location: Littlejohn Coliseum, Clemson, SC (Home of Dabo Swinney)

Game Time: 3 PM EST (ESPN Network)

Boston College Information

Location: Chestnut Hill, Massachusetts

Type of School: Private Jesuit University

Mascot: Baldwin the Eagle

Head Coach - Earl Grant

Seasons at Boston College (including ‘23/’24): 3

Other Head Coaching Jobs:

College of Charleston: 127-89

Career Record: 166-131

Conference Championships: 1 (College of Charleston)

Conference Tournament Championships: 1 (College of Charleston)

NCAA Tournament Appearances:

1 (College of Charleston)

NCAA Tournament Record: 0-1

Kenpom Style of Play

() = National Ranking per Kenpom

Offense

Adj. Efficiency: 113 (55)

Avg. Poss. Length: 16.6 (92)

Defense

Adj. Efficiency: 104.1 (147)

Avg. Poss. Length: 17.6 (235)

Tempo

Adj. Tempo: 69.3 (143)

Kenpom 4 Factors

() = National Ranking per Kenpom

Offense

Effective FG%: 53 (72)

Turnover %: 14.6 (29)

Off. Reb. %: 28.7 (201)

FTA/FGA: 27.4 (304)

Defense

Effective FG%: 50.1 (168)

Turnover %: 17.5 (189)

Off. Reb. %: 26.6 (75)

FTA/FGA: 27.1 (58)

Personnel

Boston College Starters

Position Number Player Class Height Weight Previous Team(s) Minutes Points Rebounds Assists Steal Block
Position Number Player Class Height Weight Previous Team(s) Minutes Points Rebounds Assists Steal Block
Point Guard 3 Jaeden Zackery Jr. 6'2" 220 Chipola College 32.3 11.3 3.1 4.3 1.7 0.1
Shooting Guard 1 Claudell Harris Jr. 6'3" 190 Charleston Southern 30.1 15.6 3.1 1.8 1 0
Small Forward 10 Prince Aligbe So. 6'7" 225 N/A 23.7 6.6 4.8 0.6 0.7 0.1
Power Forward 21 Devin McGlockton So. 6'7" 230 N/A 28.2 10.7 6.6 1.1 0.6 1.2
Center 12 Quinten Post Sr. 7'0" 235 Mississippi State 31.6 16.9 7.7 3.3 0.7 2.1

Boston College Bench

Position Number Player Class Height Weight Previous Team(s) Minutes Points Rebounds Assists Steal Block
Position Number Player Class Height Weight Previous Team(s) Minutes Points Rebounds Assists Steal Block
Small Forward 13 Donald Hand Fr. 6'5" 200 N/A 16.5 6.5 2.1 0.6 0.5 0.3
Shooting Guard 45 Mason Madsen Sr. 6'4" 200 Cincinnati 16.4 6.3 2.7 0.9 0.2 0.2
Point Guard 0 Chas Kelley So. 6'3" 185 13.5 3.7 2.7 0.9 0.6 0.2

I’d Like to Interrupt This Regularly Scheduled Preview

This is where I talk about what Boston College does on offense and defense. Then I give you a matchup to watch and a score prediction.

I’ll get back to that next week.

Here’s The Truth

This game is all about Clemson. Boston College is a solid team, but if Clemson shows up to play; they win the game.

I have no idea if Clemson is going to show up to play.

This is the payoff year for Brad Brownell. The Tigers haven’t made the NCAA Tournament in a normal season since 2017-2018. The only reason he hasn’t been shown the door is the potential of the guys on this team.

The last three games have been some of the most uninspired basketball I’ve seen in the Brownell era. It’s one thing for Miami to heat up from outside and put up 95 points; they have the firepower to do that on any given day. Bounce back from that game and everything is still pointed in the right direction.

Instead, Clemson followed up the Miami loss like this:

They forgot how to shoot in a winnable game against UNC, but kept shooting.

Unacceptable.

They gave up 87 points to Virginia Tech and played no defense.

Unacceptable.

This game is now a...

Must Win

The Tigers have dropped 3 straight conference games. Boston College isn’t a bad basketball team, but if Clemson has designs on playing in the NCAA tournament, they’re going to have to start beating decent ACC teams. If the Tigers drop to 1-4 in the ACC, this thing could spiral.

Clemson has the talent to make the NCAA tournament. They have more talent than Boston College. At the same time, they made an average Virginia Tech look like an offensive juggernaut. Again, Virginia Tech isn’t a bad team, but they’re not a “put 87 points up on you with ease” team. If you want to make the tournament, beating decent teams like Virginia Tech is crucial.

How To Win

I’ve put together three keys for Clemson tomorrow.

PJ Hall remembers he’s a center.

Shooting 3’s is fun. I’m in my 40’s, and there is nothing I love more than spotting up on the perimeter, catching my breath, and waiting to see if the ball finds me. If PJ Hall were a 40-year-old man playing in pick-up games at the YMCA, his recent run of form would be understandable.

Last I checked, however, he’s a 6’10”, 240-pound center playing high-level college basketball. Clemson has plenty of guys that can go 0-5 from 3 like PJ did against North Carolina. They also have plenty of guys that can go 3-8 from deep like he did against Virginia Tech. They don’t have anyone that can duplicate what he can do around the rim.

PJ Hall is the last guy I expected to lose the thread this season. At times, he’s looked like one of the best big men in the country. I think I tweeted something about Clemson having a top 5 frontcourt in the nation at one point.

Now the Tigers have 4 misfiring perimeter players surrounding Ian Schieffelin.

Thank God for Ian because if he weren’t such a determined rebounder, Clemson may never pull down a board.

PJ Hall, an All-ACC center averaging 6 rebounds a game?

Miss me with that noise. The Tigers’ supposed team leader has managed 15 rebounds total over the last 3 games. Meanwhile, he’s fouled out of 2 of the last 3 contests.

I don’t know PJ’s deal, but this is his team. They follow as he leads, and he’s led them straight into being a team reliant on 3-point shooting. If Clemson doesn’t shoot well from 3, they can’t win because Hall isn’t giving them anything in the paint. There is no balance to the offense. It’s turned into guys hanging out on the perimeter looking to jack up the first semi-decent look they get before someone else gets the chance.

I want PJ in the paint grinding in this game. Quentin Post is a rail-thin Euro big that does a better job of playing on the perimeter than PJ Hall. If your center is shooting 45% from 3 on 21-47 shooting, it’s OK for him to drift around on the perimeter. PJ’s shooting 25-71 from 3. Look at that mess. PJ has attempted 22 more 3’s than Post and has been rewarded with an additional 4 makes.

He has to take this big Euro into the post and punish him because he’s not good enough to outshoot him. If this turns into a question of whose center is a better shooter, I’m taking Post 10/10 times. Overall, PJ is a far better player, but if he’s going to limit himself to shooting 3’s, Post easily clears.

Time for PJ to remember he’s a beast.

He has to stop pouting every time he gets bumped. He has to stop committing frustration fouls when things don’t go his way. This is his team, and it’s time for him to bite down on his mouthpiece, get into the paint, and start playing like he’s interested in the NCAA tournament.

His Clemson legacy will be determined over the next few weeks.

Chase Hunter Shows Up.

Hunter’s a good player. He’s the only dude that showed up against North Carolina. He did his part, putting up 17 points on 8/14 shooting. Then he played like he drank a pregame and halftime quart of eggnog.

Virginia Tech’s Sean Pedulla embarrassed Chase Hunter. I remember one trip down the court where a red-hot Pedulla walked into a wide-open 3 without even so much as a contest from Hunter. He just watched him pull up and nail a three without so much as a hand waive. It wasn’t just Hunter getting destroyed by Pedulla, who finished the game with 32 points, but he certainly took his turn more than everyone else.

It’s been 5 seasons. I guess this is Chase Hunter. He’s a guy that can put up 17 on UNC on 8-14 shooting and get shut out by TCU, shooting 0-7. He’s a guy that can put up 15 against Alabama on 6-11 shooting and 4 points against Pitt on 1-9 shooting. He’s consistently inconsistent on offense and has made up for it by playing defense like he’s got something better to do with his time.

If you’re into advanced stats, Chase averaged a 3.0 defensive win share last season. His current average is .4. His offensive win share last season was 1.8. Now it’s .6.

That’s some serious regression folks.

Chase is talented, but Clemson needs him to be both talented and reliable. They also need him to care about defense. He hasn’t been that this season. It would help the cause if he started to be about that against Boston College.

Joe Girard scores enough to excuse his atrocious defense.

It’s frustrating to watch Chase Hunter go through the motions on defense because when he sits down and defends people, he’s a solid defender.

I had no illusions of Joe Girard being a solid defender.

He’s been hidden in the Syracuse zone his entire career, and that still hasn’t helped much. We all knew he was going to be a revolving door on defense. His current .4 defensive win share is on par with the rest of his career. His offensive win share of 1.6 is currently the second lowest of his career.

That has to change if Clemson wants to get back on track. Brad Brownell won a bidding war for Joe’s services as a shooter; now it’s time for him to shoot. Clemson’s 3-point mercenary went 0-4 from 3 and 1-10 from the field against North Carolina. That’s not what he’s getting paid to do. The Tigers have plenty of guys on their roster capable of bricking shots and not playing defense. Against Virginia Tech, he scored 12 points, but only hit 1-5 from deep and turned the ball over 6 times. Again, there are several other guys on Clemson’s roster that can score 12 points on 10 attempts and not turn the ball over 6 times while getting abused on defense, and all for significantly less money.

When Joe isn’t scoring, or at least helping other people score; he shouldn’t be on the court. The only reason he’s playable is because of his offense. When he’s chucking bricks and throwing the ball away like a true freshman on offense and is getting ruthlessly hunted by the opposition on defense (which is how I would attack him as well); what’s the point.

He’s better than he’s played over the last 2 games. When he’s playing well on offense, he’s the missing piece for the Tigers.

It’s time for him to find his offense again.

In Summary

This game is about Clemson getting back to what they do best.

I’m not going to even post a prediction (KenPom has Clemson winning 81-72) because I have no idea what Clemson team is going to show up.

I’ve heard much about Clemson G.R.I.T. but all I’ve seen over the last 3 games is a soft, unfocused team lacking any sort of leadership; both on the court and from the bench.

Graham Neff has been patient with Brad Brownell and this senior class. Possibly too patient. If they have any inclination of rewarding that patience, it needs to start tomorrow