Clemson Has Tough Task To Win or Cover at Virginia

Doug Upstone

Tuesday, January 23, 2018 1:13 PM UTC

Tuesday, Jan. 23, 2018 1:13 PM UTC

Clemson will try and alter the college basketball landscape yet again when they travel to face No. 2 Virginia. The Cavaliers are in first place and have yet to falter in Atlantic Coast Conference play.

Clemson vs Virginia

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Free NCAAB Pick: VirginiaBest Line Offered: at Bookmaker

The Tigers remain in the thick of the ACC chase and with an upset and could open numerous possibilities for themselves and others in the conference. However, Virginia (18-1, 12-4 ATS) is sending off signals they might be untouchable thanks to suffocating defense and an efficient offense.

The college basketball odds opened with Virginia as a 10-point favorite and they will have one major advantage besides the home crowd.

Clemson Comes in Short-Handed

The Tigers are (16-3, 10-5-1 ATS) tied for second place in the ACC with a 5-2 record. Clemson is off a hard-fought battle with Notre Dame, whom they put away late 67-58 as a 6.5-point home favorite. However, that victory proved costly. The Tigers second-leading scorer and rebounder Donte Grantham suffered a torn ACL. That will end his college career as a senior and that means freshman Aamir Simms will be his primary replacement.

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Coach Brad Brownell will ask his bench and starters to all make minor contributions, to maintain 77 points per game average and 48 percent shooting. Of course against Virginia, chances are Clemson will not get close to any sort of point total like that with the Wahoos only permitting 52.4 PPG.

The Tigers also have a stingy defense which permits just 40.6 percent shooting and 65.2 PPG. They will need to force season average of 13 turnovers against Cavaliers crew that only commits nine a game.

Playing Virginia is No Fun

Coach Tony Bennett's team leads the country in fewest points allowed and they are in the Top 10 in field goal percentage defense (2nd) and three-point field goal percentage defense (9th). Transfer that collection of numbers to conference play and they are No. 1 across the board defensively.

What is not talked enough about is Virginia's offense. The ball is continually on the move and they force opposing teams to play defense for most of the shot clock, but will run when presented with the right opportunities.

Bennett's club connects on 47 percent of field goal attempts, 39.4 percent behind the arc and 77.4 percent from the charity stripe. West Virginia's disruptive style is the only team to knock this club off and unless Clemson can set the tempo, this will be a tall task.

ACC Tuesday Night Winner

For college basketball picks, it would be a tall order for Clemson to win and cover with Grantham. However, knowing he's gone against a team that plays defense like Virginia, this will be too much for the Tigers. With the Cavaliers 11-3 ATS off a road win, winning by 13.1 PPG, they get the call.

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