Game Time: 4:00 PM
Head Coach: Brad Brownell (13th season)
Current Record: 12-3 (4-0 in ACC)
Last Game: 68-65 W @ Virginia Tech
Top Player: F Hunter Tyson (15.5 ppg, 10 rpg)
If you had told me at the beginning of this year in collegiate sports that Clemson and Pitt would play each other for the title of the last undefeated team in conference play, men’s basketball may have been my 8th guess as to what sport that was the case for. Alas, here we are. Both teams sit at 4-0 so far, although Pitt’s 4-0 has certainly been a more treacherous road.
In terms of injury updates, the Pittsburgh Panthers may have F John Hugley IV back in a limited capacity, while Clemson G Alex Hemenway is questionable for the contest, per Fansided’s Tristan Freeman.
KEYS TO THE GAME:
- Limit the Tigers from deep — Clemson is the best team in the ACC per 3-point field goal percentage, the only team above the 40% mark. The good news? Pitt counters well, as they hold opponents to 30%, good for 3rd best in the conference. All three of Clemson’s top scorers shoot well from deep, so it’s not a case of stopping a singular player, but instead a full unit. If Hemenway does sit, he and his team high 50% shooting from deep would be one less threat for Jeff Capel and the Panthers to worry about.
- Dominate the boards — With Pitt ranked number one in the ACC in terms of total rebounding while Clemson is ranked ninth, there’s a weakness for the Panthers to exploit in the Tigers’ game. F Hunter Tyson is ranked in the top five individually of the ACC in rebounding, but if he can be limited, the Tigers have minimal options elsewhere. F PJ Hall is second on Clemson in RPG with 4.4, which would rank 5th on Pitt.
- Use high ball screens to generate movement and space — Clemson ranks a distant first as a defensive unit in the conference when it comes to opponent field goal percentage. Do what worked against Virginia, in which Nelly Cummings shined. Pitt shot more effectively with more motion in the second half of the contest, and if it isn’t broke, don’t fix it.
Pitt’s magic isn’t wearing off tonight, especially with the atmosphere expected to be quite energetic as students are starting to return to campus. It’ll be a lower-scoring contest, but I’ve got Pitt winning 64-56.