No. 12. Clemson Tigers (17-2) at Virginia Tech Hokies (14-5)
John Paul Jones Arena, Charlottesville, V.A., Thursday 7:00PM Eastern
By Jay Horne of Predictem.com
The 12th ranked Clemson Tigers take to the road to Charlottesville, Virginia in an ACC showdown with the Virginia Tech Hokies. The 12th ranked Tigers had a tough two-game stretch falling to both Wake Forest and North Carolina back to back after a perfect 16-0 start. Clemson has faced scrutiny after the two losses while the public perception is that the Tigers may not be as good as people thought given the schedule was fairly simple before conference play. However, Clemson bounced back strong with a 73-59 win over Georgia Tech last Saturday and they will need another equal performance at Virginia Tech. The Hokies have won 5 straight games since an embarrassing loss to Duke and they have the opportunity to keep the momentum alive with another quality victory.
Virginia Tech may not post the best statistics, but they are a scrappy bunch that finds a way to get the job done. The Hokies are only shooting 45% for a team this season while averaging 71 points per game both not good enough to rank in the top 100 teams in America. Virginia Tech also allows a poor 66 points per game and they will need to play better on the defensive side of the ball in this match-up considering Clemson has a potent scoring attack. Despite the numbers, the Hokies still have won 5 straight including knocking off the number 1 team in the nation Wake Forest. Virginia Tech will attempt to stay rolling as when they host Clemson on Thursday night.
Clemson seemed to have everything going perfect until suffering back-to-back losses. The Tigers are now in search for gaining a little respect around the nation with some needed quality victories. Clemson has been pretty solid on the offensive side of the court this season averaging nearly 80 points per game that ranks in the Top 30 teams across the country. However, the Clemson category that will likely hold the advantage in this particular game is that of the rebounding column. The Tigers are averaging 38 rebounds per game compared to the Hokies who are averaging considerably less. Clemson will have the edge in height and rebounding which gives them the opportunity to really control the game.
CBB bookies opened the betting line favoring the hosting unranked Hokies by a single point over Clemson. The over/under total for the game has been posted at the 143.5 mark and that number may rise a bit before game time.
Leading the Clemson scoring this season has been the play of junior forward Trevor Booker. Booker has been very effective on the inside game with 14.4 points and grabbing 8.8 boards per contest. However, Booker has struggled over the past few games and was held to single digit point totals in both of the Tigers defeats. Sophomore shooting guard Terrence Oglesby has not disappointed lately as he has had some solid performances. Oglesby really gives Clemson a lift when he is shooting the ball well. The sophomore can get hot from anywhere on the court and with some tremendous range he can be very tough to defend. Do not be surprised at all to see Oglesby take some looks from behind the arc and rack up some points in a hurry if he gets the open looks.
Virginia Tech has a few standouts as well led by a trio of consistent performers. A.D Vasallo and Malcolm Delaney lead the team averaging 18 points an outing. The two shooters are not scared to shoot the deep ball either considering they have combined for over 80 3 pointers this season knocking down nearly 40% from behind the arc. The other contributor on offense comes by the way of sophomore forward Jeff Allen. Allen has really performed well over the last two weeks averaging 21 points in his last 3 games. Allen nearly sports a double-double average with 14 points and 9 boards per contest. Allen will likely be the man match-up with Booker on the inside and it will be interesting to see which player wins the inside grudge match that might affect the success of either team.
Neither team has been very impressive against the books this season. Clemson sports a 6-7-1 ATS mark while the Hokies have split at 7-7 ATS this season. However, head to head Virginia Tech has had the advantage in recent years going 4-2 ATS in the last 6 meetings with the Tigers. However, Clemson has won 4 out of the last 5 straight up in that same stretch.
Jay’s Pick Clemson is a bit better than most think and they are in perfect position to grab the win. Take Clemson +1.