HOKIES HOOPS CENTRAL: Virginia Tech (11-7, 1-6 ACC) at #19 Clemson (15-4, 7-1 ACC) 6PM ESPN2
Clemson (15-4, 7-1 ACC)
vs. Virginia Tech (11-7, 1-6 ACC)
January 21, 2023
6 p.m. ET
Virginia Tech Sports Network
Play-by-Play: Doug Sherman
Analyst: Cory Alexander
Reporter: Angel Gray
Virginia Tech Sports Network
Play-by-Play: Zach Mackey
Analyst: Mike Burnop
Current Spread: Hokies +1.5
The Hokies go on the road to face Clemson for a second time. These two teams have been trending in completely opposite directions. Clemson was ranked for the first time in program history this week but promptly lost to Wake Forest so will be looking to salvage the week by sending the Hokies home with their seventh straight loss. This will be the 42nd meeting between these teams with the advantage to the Hokies 23 to 18.
The Tigers are coached by Brad Brownell. He began his college coaching career at Evansville as an assistant coach in 1991. Clemson is his third college head coaching job, taking over the job in 2010. He has a 233–170 overall record guiding the Tigers.
The Tigers started 7-0 in the ACC before losing to Wake. Beating Duke is really their only signature win during that seven game run but Hokies fans can attest to any given night in the ACC nothing is a given.
The Tigers are a team that heavily relies on its starting five, in a three guard two forward set. The regular rotation is surprisingly light on transfers with only one.
This team is led by Forward Hunter Tyson, in his senior year. Tyson is averaging a double-double with 15.6 points, and 10.1 rebounds per game. Kidd and Poteat will be called on in stretches to cover Tyson to limit Mutts foul trouble.
Defensively, they play primarily man-to-man defense, varying their levels of pressure depending on personnel and their opponent, in terms or how hard they guard, how far they extend the court. An occasional zone but not the norm for the Tigers. Clemson usually wins the rebounding battle, allowing very few second chance points.
Offensively, Coach Brownell is running what he refers to as Gap Attack Zone Offense, a variable on Motion Offense, which puts an emphasis on dribble penetration to draw multiple defenders to create an open shooter, lead to defensive fouls or baskets at the rim. They will push the ball on misses and turnovers which leaves them vulnerable on extended missed shots. Brownell expects his team to constantly be in motion.
The Tigers Backcourt
Chase Hunter (1 JR G 6-3 204) 14.0 Pts, 2.7 Reb, 4.3 Ast
Brevin Galloway (11 SR G 6-2 215) 10.8 Pts, 2.6 Reb, 2.5 Ast
Alex Hemenway (12 SR G 6-3 185) 9.8 Pts, 2.5 Reb, 1.5 Ast
Joshua Beadle (0 FR G 6-3 170) 2.8 Pts, 1.3 Reb, 1.2 Ast
The Tigers Frontcourt
Hunter Tyson 5 SR F 6-8 215 15.8 Pts, 10.1 Reb, 1.6 Ast
PJ Hall 24 JR F 6-10 235 13.7 Pts, 4.8 Reb, 0.9 Ast
Ian Schieffelin 4 SO F 6-8 225 5.4 Pts, 4.0 Reb, 1.6 Ast
Ben Middlebrooks 10 SO F 6-10 225 3.6 Pts, 2.8 Reb, 0.4 Ast
RJ Godfrey 22 FR F 6-7 225 3.2 Pts, 1.5 Reb, 0.4 Ast
What to expect from Clemson?
Fast paced contest. Clemson will constantly be running fresh players into the game. Expect two or three substitutes at every stoppage. Brownell uses this to keep opponent defenses from getting a good bearing on what to expect. They have worn down opponents at the end of games, allowing them to pull away in the last few minutes of each game. That said, barring foul trouble Hunter, Tyson Galloway and Hemenway will see 30+ minutes tonight.
The Tigers have scored 70 points or more in 16 games and are 14-2 in those contests. Their lone win scoring less than seventy was beating the Hokies. All five starters average 9.8ppg or higher so expect pretty even scoring.
Fouls are usually pretty even at around 18 for and against the Tigers. In their loss to Wake though, the Demon Deacons went to the line an incredible 33 times. Clemson shoots 78% from the line as a team. Tyson and Hunter average around 4 attempts each at the line. The Tigers have won ten games by double-digits this season, but are 5-3 in games decided by less than ten.
The Tigers have only been out-rebounded four times this season. In ACC play though they have allowed ten or more offensive rebounds in five of eight games. Allowing the Hokies that many second chances with Cattoor back could be a deciding factor in this contest.
Perimeter shooting can make or break a game for Clemson. In three of their four losses the Tigers were held below 31% from the outside including the recent loss to Wake. In only three games did they shoot lower than 31% and still win, including shooting 17% against Duke.
Cattoor is back so considering the Hokies only lost to this Clemson team by three last time out and the Hokies as a team shot 49% against UVA, his being on the floor should be a big boost.
The Hokies offense against UVA was surprisingly smooth considering the prior five games. They have been protecting the ball consistently the last few games with only eight turnovers against UVA. The key will be avoiding major defensive lapses at critical moments. They did allow UVA to shoot 50% and 45% from three. Getting second chances by rebounding the basketball will be a big part of this game.
Another huge performance from Justyn Mutts, hopefully not wasted. He needs to take the ball at Tyson early and often. Tyson sat significant portions in all three losses due to foul trouble.
Highlight of the UVA game
Team offense looked good
The Hokies go on the road with a bit of confidence regardless of their loss to UVA. They must play better defensive basketball. Put that together and it definitely puts Clemson out of the rankings.
This game comes down to how the guards fair against each other. A critical matchup to watch will be Maddox and Hemenway. That matchup could decide this game.
Hokies overcome the lingering doubt of the streak to win 78-71
This is a three Popcorn Decision. I am surprisingly hopeful we see the Hokies get in the win column,.