After a six day break, the second ranked Syracuse Orange are hosting the Clemson Tigers in an ACC matchup.
The Orange (22-0, 9-0) are one win away from tying a team record for consecutive wins, which hasn’t been touched since the 1917-18 season. It won’t come easy against the Tigers, (15-6, 6-3), who are currently fifth in the conference. The two teams have met twice before, most recently in 2007, and Clemson has come out victorious both times.
As a team, Clemson struggles on the offensive end. They shoot just 41.8 percent from the field, 294th in the nation, and they score just 63.1 points per game, 330th in the nation. They are also 250th in three-point percentage, hitting just 31.8 percent of their shots from beyond the arc. These are some good signs for an already good Syracuse defense. Look for the Orange to let the Tigers take shots to see if they can consistently make them.
The Tigers, however, are the number one scoring defense in the country, giving up only 55 points per game to their opponents. They are 8th in the country in field goal percentage defense and are second in three-point field goal percentage defense, allowing opponents to only shoot 27 percent from three. The Orange will have their work cut out for them on the offensive end. Trevor Cooney will be covered very well, so guys like C.J. Fair, Jerami Grant and Rakeem Christmas need to establish a post offense to help the guards get off some good shots.
The Tigers are led by junior forward K.J. McDaniels, who leads the team in points, rebounds and blocks (16.3, 7.0, 2.6).
The Pick: This will be a slow paced game between two very good defenses. If the Orange force turnovers and get on the break, I think they will be able to out run Clemson. As many teams like to do against the Orange, they need to beat Clemson’s defense up the court so they can get good looks. Steals and long rebounds should lead to run outs for the Orange. I think it will be a pretty close game, but the Orange offense will find more ways to score than Clemson’s, the Orange win 61-53.
Where: Carrier Dome, Syracuse, NY
When: 6 p.m. ET