Two weeks ago the Seminoles were down 17 in the 2nd half to No. 11 Clemson, and many fans had given up. Then FSU played their best 10 minutes of the season. That win, and another four days later against Pitt, pushed Florida State solidly onto the right side of the NCAA Tournament bubble. But there is still work to do.
Clemson (21-7, 10-6), meanwhile, is looking to make program history by winning 11 ACC games for the first time ever. They’ve been tough in the re-modeled Littlejohn Coliseum, going 14-1 so far this season. And no team has beaten them twice this year.
Oh, and it’s senior night, in case the Tigers needed any more motivation.
Clemson relies heavily on the 3-point shot. For the year, 40% of their shots have been 3s, and that was slightly higher (43%) in game 1 vs FSU. They’ve only lost three times all year when they’ve made at least 31% of their 3s.
The reason Florida State was able to take the first game was that they forced Clemson to turn it over on 26% of their possessions. The Tigers were clearly rattled by FSU’s 2nd half pressure, but now they’ve had two weeks to prepare for it.
Their offense (55th nationally) is a four man show, with Marcquise Reed (16.0 ppg), Gabe Devoe (13.3), Shelton Mitchell (11.9), and Elijah Thomas (10.5) averaging double-figures. No one else scores even four points per game.
But it’s their defense where they stand out. They’re 8th nationally, and while they don’t force a ton of turnovers, they find a way to contest shots, and they rebound.
The Seminoles are going to have to make Clemson uncomfortable again on offense, and the ‘Noles offense really need to break out of their shooting slump, having made only 29% of their 3s in the past seven games.
The game tips at 9 PM from Clemson, and will be broadcast on ESPNU. The Tigers are a 3-point favorite.