We seek our fourth ACC road win of the season tomorrowAll you need to know about No. 12/11 Virginia Tech and Clemson ⤵️📰 » https://t.co/ePitlBRJuk#getBETTER | #Hokies 🦃 pic.twitter.com/P0HAuscJUM— Virginia Tech Men's Basketball (@HokiesMBB) February 8, 2019
Date/Time: Feb. 9, 2019 / 12 p.m.
Site: Clemson, South Carolina (Littlejohn Coliseum)
Radio: Virginia Tech IMG Sports Network
Talent: Jon Laaser & Mike Burnop
Talent: Doug Sherman & Cory Alexander
Live Stats: HokieSports.com
Game Notes: Virginia Tech
Sirius: 84 XM: 84 Internet: 84
Tail of two teams
Buzzketball is on the road to face the Clemson Tigers. Clemson is coming in winners of three straight albeit against the dregs of the conference, with wins over Pitt (2-8), Wake Forest (2-8) and Georgia Tech (3-7). The Hokies venture in to Clemson off their first home loss to the Louisville Cardinals.
On the road, at noon, hopefully with a packed arena as that might be the only saving grace for this team that seems to need a high energy environment to prosper. We do not need another recurrence of Penn State and the concrete shoes that the Hokies seemed to wear in that game. As thin as the Hokies roster might seem with all the injuries and other drama, they likely are as deep as this Clemson lineup considering only about six Tigers see meaningful minutes.
This will be the Thirty fifth meeting between the Hokies and Tigers. Virginia Tech leads the all-time series 19-15. Hopefully the Hokies come out with the same energy they have had most of the season and control the pace of this game early.
The Tigers are coached by Brad Brownell, who has been at Clemson since 2010. He has finished with winning teams in all but one year guiding the Tigers. They are a consistent middle of the ACC team throughout his tenure. Brownell is 163-121 in his time at Clemson, leading them to the post season in four of his eight seasons. Overall, he is 330-206 as a head coach with prior stops at Wright State and UNC Wilmington.
Defensively, the Tigers focus primarily on a smothering man to man defense. The Tigers have forced opponents into over 15 turnovers per game. Their interior defense with Elijah Thomas has held opponents to the 24th lowest shooting percentage inside at 45%. They don't exactly struggle around the perimeter either, where opponents are shooting 36%. Early on this team dominated the boards but so far in conference play that has seemingly evaporated. In their last contest though, Wake Forest had 18 offensive rebounds but only managed 12 points from those second chances. It shows that their defense doesn't relent even giving up second chances.
Offensively, Clemson runs a constant motion offense which with his current group of players has been focused primarily between Point Guard Marquise Reed and their Primary Post Player Elijah Thomas, who together account for 32.3 points of Clemson's 71 points per game. Expect to see quite a few pick and rolls involving both of these players.
Marcquise Reed, (#2) 6'3, 188 Lbs Senior Guard comes in averaging 19.1 PPG, 5.1 RPG, 3.2 APG and 1.9 SPG. He is shooting 32% from outside and attempts four per game. He also shoots 81% from the free throw line. This is Reed's second season with the Tigers after transferring from Robert Morris. Reed will be used to break down the zone defense that the Hokies like to play, crossing the middle of the court to create space for drives or passes. Also expect to see him play at the point a majority of the game. He is the one guy they have that could possibly will them to victory as an one man show.
Shelton Mitchell, (#4), 6'4, 200 Lbs Senior Guard in his second season with the Tigers after transferring from Vanderbilt is averaging 11.2 PPG, 2.4 RPG, 3.1 APG and 1 SPG. The Hokies didn't have to contend with Mitchell last season as he got hurt before Tech faced the Tigers. He also will be seen handling the point duties when Reed is not. He is shooting 46% inside, 29% outside, and 80% from the line.
Sophomore Clyde Trapp (#0), 6'4, 196 lbs is averaging 6.6 PPG, 3.2 RPG, 1.7 APG and 1 SPG. Trapp is essentially the sixth man, coming in for any minutes Reed or Mitchell are on the bench for. He shoots 53% inside, 34% from outside and 62% from the free throw line.
Elijah Thomas, (#14) 6'9, 245 Lbs Senior Forward is the center of the Tigers show in his second season after transferring in from Texas A&M. He does a bit of everything on both ends of the court. He is averaging 13.2 PPG, 7.7 RPG, 1.2 APG, and 2 BPG. He is shooting 66% inside, doesn't shoot threes and hits 67% from the line. Thomas does have a tendency to get in foul trouble but when that happens, the Clemson size on the floor actually gets bigger, as the two backups for those situations are 6'10 and 7 feet.
Sophomore Forward Aamir Simms (#25), 6'7, 248 lbs, from Palmyra, VA presents a pretty strong physical presence down low. He is averaging 9.3 PPG, 4.5 RPG, 1 APG and 1 BPG. He is shooting 58% inside, 34% outside, and 70% from the line.
Senior David Skara, (#24), 6'8, 213 lbs in his second season with the Tigers after transferring from Valparaiso. He is averaging 8 PPG, 4.4 RPG and 1.6 APG. He is shooting 59% inside, 39% outside, and 73% from the line.
What to expect from Clemson?
Clemson working the paint. The Tigers score almost 55% of their points in the paint, and another 20% from the free throw line. Obviously not all of the free throws are attributed to the paint but a considerable amount are. You are looking at a team that relies on interior scoring for almost 70% of its total scoring.
This is a very experienced lineup with some solid size down low. Four seniors in the starting five and typically three post players in the game at any one time. This isn't the fastest team but once they get in their half court set, this is a difficult team to find quality shots against.
Expect to see a full court press utilized quite often by Clemson, even if it is just perfunctory to slow the ball from reaching the half court. Every second they take off the clock is that many fewer passes the Hokies have to find an open shooter. It also shortens the window for their short bench to get into foul trouble and reduces the total possessions their opponents have to create offense.
Vote for NAW! 👇Nickeil Alexander-Walker (@TheReal_NAW1) can be voted for on the #WoodenAward presented by @Wendys ⤵️https://t.co/Msd0ZTT2Cc pic.twitter.com/O3Ivre0ud2— Virginia Tech Men's Basketball (@HokiesMBB) February 6, 2019
ICYMI this afternoon:A big day for Nickeil Alexander-Walker (@TheReal_NAW1) 🤙WATCH LISTS• Wooden Award• Jerry West Award#getBETTER | #Hokies 🦃 pic.twitter.com/EkFYoFftHR— Virginia Tech Men's Basketball (@HokiesMBB) February 6, 2019
Tech needs to be focused and moving around on offense to limit the Tigers ability to get in passing lanes and create turnovers.
Tech needs to be able to get to the basket frequently but doing so intelligently. Don't overcommit so much that you essentially hand your opponent the ball at the rim. Get into the body of the Clemson bigs and they will respond by fouling. It's been their one big weakness defensively this season.
Outlaw or Hill have to deliver some outside punch in this contest to keep the Clemson defense from closing in on the lane. Need to get at least five trey's from these two on the game.
The Hokies will likely continue to struggle offensively with Robinson likely out for this contest. The Hokies need to come out with their energetic defense and create a large gap between these two squads. I would hope that Buzz turns the pressure all the way up, especially coming out of the gate.
Expect a high paced game, Tech needs to get out and run early and often. Change the pace of play so that the Tigers are forced to constantly reach for opponents. Speed is one major advantage the Hokies have in this contest.
Clemson will look to kick start their offense through Hokies turnovers leading to uncontested trips to the lane. The Hokies have to limit these opportunities. Don't let the Tigers hang around. Close out on the perimeter and open up a double digit lead by the half.
Keep the pace fast and fluid, moving the ball and themselves and create the openings that either lead to fouls or open looks.
The Hokies win 69-61 by being stout on defense and hitting their shots. Shutting down the Tigers in the paint while getting their bigs in early foul trouble will create some space between these two teams. Take that step towards the tourney by notching the 8th conference win.
The fun is in the details – competing against the details 🔍— Buzz Williams (@TeamCoachBuzz) February 7, 2019