Fresh off a win over Cal to complete the Emerald Coast Classic on Saturday, Clemson Men’s Basketball returns to the friendly confines of Littlejohn Coliseum to tackle Penn State in the final installment of the ACC/Big Ten Challenge.
The Tigers are 5-2 on the season and have played relatively well over the first seven games, with the exception of the South Carolina game, and even then only lost on a buzzer-beater on the road.
That said, none of the wins, nor the Gamecocks for that matter, are highly respected, with the exception of Iowa and the Tigers held their own against a much bigger Hawkeye team.
The Nittany Lions are 6-1 and ranked 33 in the kenpom.com rankings, which puts them 10 spots behind the Hawkeyes, but far ahead of the Tigers (66).
If you think Clemson shoots a lot of threes (more than average, comparatively), Penn State shoots even more from distance, taking over half of their field goal attempts behind the arc (50.7%, 7th in the nation), while hitting 42.2% of them.
This is also reflected in the lack of free-throw attempts by the Nittany Lions, where they rank 361 of 363 in free-throw attempt rate.
It will be bombs away in Littlejohn Coliseum in this one.
After opening as a 1.5 point underdog, the Tigers enter the game as a 1.5 point favorite with an over/under of 134.5, which projects a final of 68 to 66.50 in favor of Penn State.
A 3 point shift is significant, if there’s not an obvious reason behind it, which I couldn’t find.
Here are our analysts take on whether the Tigers will win and/or cover.
Clemson men’s basketball will likely end up in a shoot-out with Penn State
Marty Coleman (7-0, 3-4 ATS):
The analysis favors the Tigers in this one in my opinion. Penn State has shot lights out from three point range and if they hit their current average of 42%, all bets are off. On the other hand, they’re in an unfamiliar environment against a team that also shoots the three well, is taller and actually shoots more free throws from the Nittany Lions do. I expect a closely played game, but home court makes the difference as the Tigers edge the Lions.
John Chancey (6-1, 2-5 ATS):
I think the home court advantage gives Clemson the edge, so laying the point and a half is the play for me. The score prediction is trickier. I’m leaning towards agreeing with Marty, it think it is close and goes down to the wire. Unlike the Iowa game, it will be the Tigers holding off their Big Ten opponent.