Clemson will look to continue its impressive season atop the Atlantic Coast Conference when it takes on Florida State in Tallahassee, Fla., on Saturday night.
The 24th-ranked Tigers (17-4, 9-1 ACC) need a win over the Seminoles (7-14, 5-5) to stay in the Associated Press Top 25 as they open a two-game trip that will take them to Boston College next week.
Clemson has won back-to-back games after losing at Wake Forest. The Tigers have won nine of their past 10 games and need victories in their upcoming games to avoid damaging their NET rating, which sits outside the top 50 and is seventh overall in the ACC.
“I hate to say it like this, but if they don’t want you in the (NCAA Tournament), they’re going to find a reason why,” Clemson coach Brad Brownell said. “Your NET ranking is good, but you don’t have enough Quad 1 wins. If you’ve got a Quad 4 loss, whatever it is, you don’t have enough this or that. There are so many factors, and it’s a hard job.”
The Seminoles are looking to rebound after they were crushed by rival Miami 86-63 at home on Tuesday night.
Florida State appeared to finally build some momentum in a season replete with injuries and other hindrances. But the Seminoles had no answer for a sharp-shooting Hurricanes team that shot 56 percent from the field and made 11 of 22 3-pointers.
“It’s hard to shoot that well from the perimeter if you’re in the gym shooting by yourself, with no defense around you at all,” Florida State coach Leonard Hamilton said. “They are a good shooting team, but I think we played a part in that by not being prepared to play that junkyard defense that we have been accustomed to over the years.”
Clemson presents a similar challenge as it has been one of the most efficient shooting teams in Division-I college basketball this season.
Even with their top two guards — Chase Hunter and Alex Hemenway — sidelined with foot injuries, the Tigers are shooting 46.7 percent as a team, 36.9 percent from 3-point range and average only 11.2 turnovers a game.
Brevin Galloway, a transfer from Boston College who grew up in Anderson, S.C., has helped Clemson’s short-handed backcourt, scoring at least 14 points in three of the past four games. He’s averaging 10.6 for the season.
“I believed in the team from the jump,” Galloway told TheTigerCU.com. “Looking at the roster when I was in the transfer portal trying to decide schools, I figured I might as well come home and make history. And I feel like that’s what we’re going to do.”
Hunter Tyson continues to be a dominant presence inside, averaging a team-high 15.5 points and 10 rebounds.
The Seminoles will need a much better outing on the boards than they had against Miami. Florida State was outrebounded 40-23 and did not have an offensive rebound in the first half as Miami built a 26-point halftime lead.
“I know we are playing with four guards and a power forward, but that’s part of the game,” Hamilton said. “Not being focused to get some putbacks or tip-ins or getting offensive rebounds to allow yourself to get fouled and get to the foul line.”
–Field Level Media