NC State Wolfpack vs. Clemson Tigers
Time: 12:00pm | Saturday, January 8th
Location: Raleigh, NC
Ken Pom Line: Clemson -2
NC State is coming off their first ACC win and looking to make it two in a row as the Tigers come into town.
Clemson comes in at 9-5 with their only notable win over Virginia (a 17 slaughter in Charlottesville). They’ve dropped their rematch with Virginia, a game to Rutgers, Miami and #22 St. Bonaventure.
Clemson relies on two pretty versatile forwards. Their leading scorer is PJ Hall. He’s a 6’10 sophomore who is averaging 14 points per game. He’s decently athletic, had good hands, good footwork, and can pop out and shoot it (33% from 3pt range). He’s not going to beat anyone off the bounce, but he can score on the block or knock down a jumper.
Then you have Hunter Tyson, a 6’8 senior. He’s another big kid who likes to shoot it (hitting 39% of his 3s). He’s averaging 12 ppg. And while he’s not going to beat you on the block or out quick you, he’s fundamental, and a very well-rounded player who has been hot all season long.
At guard, Clemson relies on USF transfer David Collins, a 6’4 senior who, on tape is’nt all that exciting, but does put up decent numbers. He’s averaging 11.8 ppg, 7 boards and 2 assists. He’s a solid guard, he isn’t that quick, nor is he crazy athletic. He does play physical, and is a disciplined kid who doesn’t take many bad shots or make many mistakes.
Then there is Al-Amir Dawes, a 6’2 junior who, like Collins, doesn’t really wow you with anything he does, but puts up good numbers at 11 ppg. Dawes is another guy who can shoot if you leave him open.
Lastly, there is Nick Honor. NC State fans might remember him from his 21 point performance off the bench in their 74-70 OT win over the Pack last season.
To this day, that is still Nick Honors’ career high. He was eating Shakeel Moore and Thomas Allen alive in that game. Putting some size on him seems to keep him in check, and this year, that is something NC State will be able to do. Honors is averaging 10 points and 3 assists per game. He doesn’t shoot a ton from long range, but when he does, he usually hits. He’s shooting 43% from out there this year.
Keys to the game for NC State
- Lean on Seabron. Clemson doesn’t have a single guy who can match up with him.
- Defend the high screen. Nick Honor is going to be going off the high screen and PJ Hall is a pretty good roll man, or pick and pop guy. Honor can hit if you leave him. How good the Pack plays the high screen will dictate a lot.
- Replicate the intensity. The NC State defense looked great against Virginia Tech and really limited their open looks. Clemson is going to shoot 3s, so State really needs to not get caught helping down on the drives. And we’ll beat the dead horse in saying, they have to keep the guards out of the lane!
- Smart defense wins this game. While staying intense is a key, playing smart defense might be even more important in this one. Clemson doesn’t have a single guy you have lock down, they can come at you from any spot and all their guys can hit from long range. This is going to take extreme focus for NC State defensively. No getting lost, no falling asleep, your guy can score at any moment.