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FSU basketball: Clemson preview

Happy signing day. Now get out to the Tuck and cheer on your Noles.

Phil Sears-USA TODAY Sports

When FSU and Clemson played in mid-January the Noles led most of the game before Clemson made an improbable comeback from down 10 with two minutes to play. But FSU was able to hold on behind 17 points and 9 assists from Xavier Rathan-Mayes. Now, 16 days later, that road win looks even better as Clemson has won three straight and is currently a half game behind Duke at 5-4.

Clemson still only has one player scoring in double figures on the season (Jaron Blossomgame, 13.1 ppg), though junior Jordan Roper has been on fire during their 3-game winning streak. Roper has averaged 18.0 per game, and made 10-18 3s (56%). Of course, prior to that he had made just 19% on the season.

Clemson has already beaten Pitt and NC State on the road, so they've proven that they can play away from home. To win, the Noles will need to do what they did last time, which was to force contested shots on the interior. Clemson is a terrible 3-point shooting team, so unless someone gets hot, they'll need to do what they do best which is to grind out buckets on the interior and then play tough defense.

Clemson attempted 17 more free throws than FSU in the first matchup, despite FSU being the best team in the ACC at getting to the line. That will have to change. Florida State needs to be able to pile up free throw attempts, as Clemson is No. 1 in the ACC in defensive eFG%. They're No. 1 defending 2-pointers, and No. 2 defending 3-pointers.

A win would tie FSU with Clemson at 5-5 in conference.

The game tips at 9pm from the Tuck and will be broadcast on Raycom Sports and ESPN3. The Noles are 2 1/2-point favorites.