Clemson Men's Basketball: Tigers host Cavs in important ACC contest

Jan 13, 2024; Clemson, South Carolina, USA; Clemson Tigers guard Chase Hunter (1) shoots the ball
Jan 13, 2024; Clemson, South Carolina, USA; Clemson Tigers guard Chase Hunter (1) shoots the ball / Ken Ruinard-USA TODAY Sports

With road contests with No. 3 North Carolina and Syracuse up next week Clemson Men's Basketball needs to take advantage of an opportunity to pick another ACC win against Virginia Saturday in Littlejohn Coliseum.

Brad Brownell's squad is coming off a less-than-convincing win over a hit-or-miss Louisville team Tuesday, by a score of 70-64.

That win improved the Tigers overall record to 14-6 and their ACC record to 4-5.

Virginia, meanwhile, doesn't appear to be the dominant squad that we're used to, but they still reside at No. 3 in the ACC at 16-5 overall and 7-3 in the conference, just a half-game back of second-place Duke.

After hitting a rough patch around the beginning of January, the Cavs have won five in a row, holding four of those opponents to 57 points or less and the other to 66.

Virginia's defensive reputation is buttressed by a No. 9 defensive efficiency ranking by

That's not good news for Clemson, which after scoring 89, 90 (2 OT) and 78 in a three-game stretch have scored only 71 and 70 in their last two contests.

Believe it or not, guard Reece Beekman is still with the Cavs and he leads them in scoring at 13.3 points per game.

The only other Virginia player in double figures is Ryan McNeely at 11.6, but Ryan Dunn is one cusp at 9.7 points per contest.

The 6'8 Dunn, listed as a guard, leads the Cavs on the boards with 7.1 rebounds per game.

The Tigers meanwhile boast three double-digit scorers, led by 6'10 senior P.J. Hall at 19.9 points per game, followed by Chase Hunter and Joe Girard at 14.8 and 12.0 points respectively.

Ian Schieffelin leads Clemson with 9.6 rebounds per game.

Clemson has struggled from the field lately and shot only 43% from the field against Louisville, including 23% from three-point range in hanging on against the Cardinals.

The Tigers were dominated on the boards by the Cardinals by a 48-27 total and Louisville was able to grab an unheard of 21 offensive rebounds, a scenario that can't be repeated.

Clemson Men's Basketball must take care of the ball to beat Virginia

The Tigers were sloppy late in the loss to Duke, turning the ball over four consecutive times with the lead and playing sloppy, careless basketball late in the game against Louisville.

Turnovers against a team as good defensively as Virginia is a recipe for a loss no matter where the game is played and the Tigers occasional lackadaisical attention to detail has become worrisome.

With 10 games left in the regular season, each remaining game takes on added significance as the Tigers continue to make a case for the NCAA Tournament.

Clemson is currently No. 33 in the NET Rankings and 3-4 against Quad 1 teams.

The game is scheduled to begin at 2 p.m. Eastern and will be televised by ESPN.

As of Friday afternoon, the Tigers are listed as a 5.5-point favorite.

Game odds refresh periodically and are subject to change.