Atlantic Coast Conference (21-10, 9-7)
Big Wins: 11/29 vs Butler (70-69), 1/31 Maryland (62-53), 2/28 at Florida State (53-50)
Bad Losses: 12/2 Illinois (74-76), 1/26 at Boston College (69-75), 3/11 vs NC State (57-59)
Last NCAA Appearance: 2009, First Round loss to Michigan
Coach: Oliver Purnell (0-5 in 5 NCAA appearances)
Why They Can Surprise:
Clemson wins games with their defense. The team ranks in the top ten nationally in steals and the top 40 in blocks. The top five minute earners on the team all average at least one steal per game. It is the big guys up front that make it so difficult for the opposition to score. At 6-8, Jerai Grant might be considered a little undersized for a center in the Atlantic Coast Conference, but he has long arms and averages nearly two blocks per game. Grant is also a capable scorer who adds an interior scoring threat to the Tigers offense.
However, it is Trevor Booker who is the main scorer on the team. The 6-7 power forward leads the team with 15.3 points and 8.3 rebounds. Like Grant, Booker is also a capable shot blocker, but his experience and tenacity on the glass makes the frontcourt very dynamic, albeit slightly undersized.
Why They Can Disappoint:
However, at times it seems like for every turnover the Tigers create, they commit one themselves. That is not quite true since the Tigers have a pretty good turnover ratio, but they still rank 256th in the nation with 14.0 turnovers per contest. The guard trio of Demontez Stitt, Tanner Smith and Andre Young are mostly to blame. While Stitt is a fine point guard who can score in a variety of ways and Smith has turned into the prototypical glue guy, the turnovers are still a problem. Young is the point guard of the future and started a few games while Stitt was out with an injury and his role will continue to increase if Stitt has trouble holding onto the ball.
Who To Watch:
David Potter is the other starter, although if turnovers are an issue, Smith can slide over to the small forward spot and Stitt and Young will be on the floor at the same time in order to maximize the number of ballhandlers on the court. However, that would create problems in the three-point shooting category. Clemson is not a good shooting team from beyond the arc and Potter is one of the team’s best long range threats. Nearly all of Potter’s scoring comes from long range, but on a team that will find plenty of open looks from outside with Booker drawing attention in the paint, it is important that Potter is on the floor and knocking down three balls. Otherwise it will be up to Young to hit the long ball.
Demontez Stitt, Junior, Guard, 11.1 ppg, 3.2 apg, 1.5 spg
Tanner Smith, Sophomore, Guard, 8.9 ppg, 2.2 apg, 4.1 rpg
David Potter, Senior, Forward, 7.1 ppg, 2.6 rpg
Trevor Booker, Senior, Forward, 15.3 ppg, 8.3 rpg
Jerai Grant, Junior, Center, 7.0 ppg, 4.7 rpg, 1.8 bpg
Devin Booker, Freshman, Center, 4.6 ppg, 2.9 rpg
Noel Johnson, Freshman, Guard, 4.7 ppg, 1.9 rpg
Andre Young, Sophomore, Guard, 8.9 ppg, 2.4 apg, 1.7 spg
By the Numbers:
Scoring Offense: 73.8 (78th in nation, 5th in conference)
Scoring Defense: 64.0 (63, 4)
Field-Goal Percentage: 45.5 (72, 5)
Field-Goal Defense: 41.6 (96, 9)
Three-Point Field Goals Per Game: 6.6 (125, 3)
Three-Point Field-Goal Percentage: 33.5 (188, 8)
Free-Throw Percentage: 66.2 (255, 8)
Rebound Margin: 2.1 (113, 8)
Assists Per Game: 14.3 (73, 5)
Turnovers Per Game: 14.8 (256, 8)
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