Clemson (5-3) has played four good teams and lost three times. They’re talented - they have the same number of blue chips on the roster as FSU - but short-handed. In the off-season they lost two potential starters to ACL injuries. And this team looks different from past Clemson teams. They like to shoot 3s. They reallllly like to shoot 3s. After being 256th in the nation last year in 3-pt attempt%, they’ve moved all the way to 58th this year, chucking over 43% of their shots from behind the new 3-point line. If they’re going to pull the upset, knocking down a ton of 3s is the way to do it.
Players to watch
Tevin Mack (6-6, 227) originally took his talents to Texas. Then he transferred to Alabama. Now he’s back in his home state playing for Clemson (one of five transfers on the roster). He leads the team at 13.8 ppg, and is knocking down 41% of his 3s.
Aamir Simms (6-8, 240) does the work inside. He scores 11.8 ppg to go along with 8.5 rpg. He led the team in scoring on their trip to Italy. The plan was to have the junior be more versatile this year, but until they get a full roster they need him in the paint.
After leading his team to 3-straight State Championships in North Carolina, John Newman III (6-5, 197) was brought in to be the logical scoring successor to Marcquise Reed. The sophomore is scoring 10.8 per game, and is the most athletic guy on the court.
The Point Guard
As a result of being short-handed, Clemson has one point guard. And he’s a freshman. He’s talented and played at a high level - the 4* recruit is from famed St. Anthony’s in New Jersey. So far Al-Amir Dawes (6-2, 180) has done some good. He scores 9.4 per game, is respectable from deep (35%), and hands out assists at a solid clip (19%). But he’s been turnover prone and now he’s going up against the 11th best defense in the nation at forcing turnovers.
Who will win
Ken Pomeroy FSU 84%
Vegas line FSU -10.5
How to watch
ACC Network, 2 PM from the Tuck
Matt and Michael have finally got around to launching a dedicated FSU hoops pod. You
can will be able to find it wherever you get your podcasts by searching ‘Tomahawk Nation.’ It’s still in review at Apple, but is available at Spotify. You can listen here or below.