The Clemson Tigers Men’s Basketball team takes on the Notre Dame Fighting Irish tonight in South Bend. The game tips off at 7 p.m. at the Purcell Pavilion at the Joyce Center. The game will be televised locally on the Regional Sports Network and broadcast on the radio on CTSN. Coverage begins at 7 p.m. The Irish are favored by 4.5.
The Tigers come into the game with a 15-7 (6-4) record and are coming off a 57-44 loss at #1 Syracuse on Sunday. The Tigers are looking to finish off their road trip with a big win in a game that is very important for their NCAA Tournament hopes. The Irish are currently 12-12 (3-8) and will be looking to defend their home court, something that they failed to do Saturday as they lost to North Carolina 73-62. The Irish are only 11-5 at Purcell Pavilion this season which is their worst home record since the 2005-2006 season. K.J. McDaniels will be looking to continue the good play that he showed Sunday against Syracuse when he scored 19 points and added 10 rebounds as well as 2 blocks. The Tigers will also be looking to find the second scorer that they have been lacking for most of the season. Several players, such as Rod Hall, Jaron Blossomgame, and Jordan Roper have shown flashes of being that second guy but no one has stepped up consistently. Blossomgame had a solid game against Syracuse on Sunday so look for him to step up against the Irish.
The Irish are led by Senior Garrick Sherman, who is averaging 14.6 points and 7.9 rebounds per game this season. The Irish lost leading scorer Jerian Grant in late December and have gone just 4-8 since losing him and are still trying to adjust to life without him. That will not be an easy task for the Irish tonight as the Tigers are coming into Purcell Pavilion with the nations leading scoring defense and are allowing a lowly 55.1 points per game. The Irish come in averaging 73.9 points per game so something will have to give tonight. The Tigers defense looked very strong on Sunday night against an elite Syracuse team as they held the Orangemen to just 57 points and should be able to put up the same type of performance tonight against a less talented Irish team.
This game could be a big victory for the Tigers who are trying to build a resume for the NCAA Tournament. ESPN’s Joe Lunardi currently has the Tigers as a bubble team for the big dance and tweeted today that Clemson was part of his “First Four Out” group. A win tonight in a hostile environment against a decent Fighting Irish team would be a statement that the Tigers can play and would be a solid win for Coach Brownell. These are the games that teams have to win if they want to make the NCAA Tournament.