Clemson Men's Basketball: Tigers look to take next step vs. N.C. State

Tigers need to take care of business vs capable Wolfpack

Feb 14, 2024; Clemson, South Carolina, USA;  Feb 14, 2024; Clemson, South Carolina, USA; Clemson
Feb 14, 2024; Clemson, South Carolina, USA; Feb 14, 2024; Clemson, South Carolina, USA; Clemson / Ken Ruinard-USA TODAY Sports

The Clemson Men's Basketball team got a measure of revenge Wednesday by defeating Miami, but more than that they extended their winning streak to three games and, if you believe most pundits, solidified their spot in March Madness with the win over the Hurricanes.

But, this is Clemson and this is Clemson basketball and you never say never in either direction until the deal is done.

Then you question it one more time to make sure.

An epic 24-3 run by Brad Brownell's team when they were down 57-53 against Miami with 7:03 to go led to a bit of a laugher in the end, but it was uncomfortable for a good chunk of the evening for long-time Clemson basketball followers.

The reality is over the last three games Brad Brownell's team has: withstood a rally by the No. 3 team in the nation (at the time) that tied the game at 70 with 4:17 to go in a place where they were 1-60 going in and defeated North Carolina; outscored Syracuse 17-8 on the road after the Orangemen tied the score at 60 with 3:37 to play; brushed aside a Miami team that dominated Clemson six weeks ago after being behind by three with 7 minutes to play.

Up next for the 17-7 Tigers is a 15-9 North Carolina State team with the exact same ACC record as Clemson at 7-6.

The Wolfpack are capable, coming in at No. 77 in and No. 83 in the latest Net Rankings and wins over Wake Forest and Virginia, though both of those were on State's home court.

Kevin Keatt's team features four double-digit scorers, three of whom are listed as guards.

D.J. Horne leads the team at 16.8 points per game, with forward D.J. Burns coming in at 11.9, Casey Morsell at 11.8 and Jayden Taylor at 11.3.

On the boards, 6'10 Mohamed Diarra grabs 6 rebounds per game, with old friend Ben Middlebrooks grabbing 4 boards per contest and leading the team in offensive rebounding percentage in about 14.5 minutes per game.

Clemson Men's Basketball recipe for success: Avoid turnovers, hit the boards

The Wolfpack have not shot the ball particularly well and aren't outstanding at rebounding. What they do well is not turn the ball over on offense and steal the ball on defense, so this isn't a team you want to be dribbling the ball between your legs 40 feet from the basket as the Tigers sometimes do.

Clemson should have a distinct height advantage and therefore and advantage on the boards overall.

P.J. Hall leads the Tigers in scoring at 19.6 points per game, with Joe Girard (15.3) and Chase Hunter (12.2) also in double figures.

Ian Schieffelin dominates the boards for Clemson, hauling down 9.5 rebounds per contest, with Hall contributing 7.2 and Jack Clark becoming a force over the last three games.

In the never-ending weirdness of ACC scheduling with the "Where's My Game?" concept in full effect, the game is scheduled for 7:45 p.m. Saturday on the CW Network.