NCAA Preview: Clemson TigersPosted by rtmsf on March 16th, 2009
Clemson (#7 seed, South, Kansas City pod)
vs. Michigan (#10 seed)
Thursday, March 19th, 7:10 P.M.
Vegas Line: Clemson -5
Thanks to Vegas Watch for providing these graphs that measure the moving average of a team’s spread (moving avg.) over time vs. the spread for each individual game (indiv). If a team’s moving average is higher than zero, then Vegas currently has a higher opinion of them than Pomeroy, and vice versa.
Location: Clemson, South Carolina
Conference: ACC, at-large bid
Coach: Oliver Purnell, 94-70 at Clemson
08-09 Record: 23-8, 9-8 ACC
Last 12 Games: 6-6
Best Win: 74-47 v. Duke, February 3rd
Worst Loss: 81-86 v. Georgia Tech, March 12th in ACC Tournament
Off. Efficiency Rating: 117.4/ 9th overall
Def. Efficiency Rating: 94.1/ 51st overall
Nuts n Bolts
Star Player(s): Trevor Booker- 15.3 points/game, 9.7 rebounds/game, 2.0 blocks/game, 56.7 FG%; KC Rivers- 14.2 points/game, 5.9 rebounds/game, 1.7 steals/game
Unsung Hero: Jerai Grant- 4.7 points/game, 3.1 rebounds/game, 1.4 blocks/game, 67.1 FG%
Potential NBA Draft Pick(s): Trevor Booker, projected 51st overall
Key Injuries: None
Depth: 30.6%/ 183rd overall
Achilles Heel: This year is a different Clemson team than the ones that have faltered down the stretch, they play better defense and have more talent. But, they don’t have a true point guard or distributor. Demontez Stitt plays the role admirably, but he is better suited creating from the wing. No one on the team who plays meaningful minutes has a assist/turnover ratio better that Stitt’s 1.5/1.
Will Make a Deep Run if… The team will be fine as long as they play defense. The Tigers should have been playing in the second round last year but let Villanova shoot a ton of three-pointers and make a run to win. They have a very long and deep front court, and a solid group of wing players that will make plays, so Clemson really just needs to make sure they step up the defensive intensity.
Will Make an Early Exit if… If the Tigers don’t guard the perimeter well, they will be in trouble. They didn’t guard it well in losses to Virginia and then Georgia Tech in the ACC Tournament, but they have the players who lockdown wing players. The Big Dance is the best place for a good shooter to get hot, and Clemson needs to make sure that doesn’t happen.
Last Year Invited: 2008, Lost to Villanova in the first round
Best NCAA Finish: In 1980, the Tigers made it to the Elite Eight before losing to UCLA
Historical Performance vs. Seed (1985-present): n/a
Six Degrees to Detroit: None.
Distance to First Round Site: 913 miles away from Kansas City, Missouri
School’s Claim to Fame: Death Valley and Howard’s Rock. Apologies to Oliver Purnell, but Clemson will always be a football school and no one who has ever been to Death Valley has ever said they haven’t enjoyed their trip. The place is incredibly loud, and the fans are incredibly drunk passionate. Howard’s Rock is the rock the players touch before they run down the hill, and would be protected like the President if a rival school tried to mess with it.
School Wishes It Could Forget: The Larry Shyatt era.
Prediction: Michigan doesn’t really belong in the NCAA tournament, so Clemson should run them over, but beating Oklahoma will be much harder. The Tigers have the talent and potential to do so, but they will need to play the way they did in the middle of the season, not the way they did down the stretch.
Preview written by… Mike Lemaire