Tigers on the Prowl vs Reeling Florida State in ACC Battle

Rainman M.

Wednesday, February 28, 2018 12:34 PM UTC

Wednesday, Feb. 28, 2018 12:34 PM UTC

No. 18 Clemson hosts Florida State tonight at 9 ET. The Tigers are favored by 4.5 points. Can they prolong the Seminoles' ATS woes?

Florida State Seminoles (19-9 SU, 14-11-1 ATS) vs No. 18 Clemson Tigers (21-7 SU, 14-11 ATS)

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Free NCAAB Pick: Clemson -4.5Best Line Offered: at Heritage

NC State guard/forward Allerik Freeman must read my articles because after I cited his low field goal percentage on Sunday, he proceeded to lead all scorers with 25 points. Or maybe FSU is more susceptible to the scoring potential of opposing guards than I thought. FSU has allowed an opposing guard to be the leading or second-leading scorer with 19+ points in eleven of sixteen ACC games. In seven of those eleven, the guard achieved a season-high in points or second-highest. Among the five games that didn't count, Miami’s Bruce Brown, who had been a shooting guard, lead his team with 20+ points. In another of the five games, The guard trio of low-scoring, slow-tempo Virginia (Kyle Guy, Ty Jerome and Devon Hall) were its only scorers in double figures.

Clemson matches up well with FSU because its guards are the largest source of its scoring production. Marcquise Reed and Shelton Mitchell are Clemson's first- and third-leading active scorers, respectively, and small forward but converted guard Gabe DeVoe is Clemson's second-leading active scorer.

An aspect of Clemson's reliance on guard play for scoring is its success behind the arc. DeVoe ranks 208th in three-point shooting percentage and Mitchell is the ACC's 16th-best in the category. Overall, Clemson attempts the ACC's fifth-highest proportion of threes and converts the fifth-highest percentage. Three-point shooting teams rather thrive at home where they get to shoot where they are most comfortable and in front of their fans. So Clemson should exploit Florida State's bottom-ranked three-point defense. FSU has failed to cover its last five games largely due to surrendering over 80 points in its last four.

When FSU beat the Tigers at home on February 14th, an 81-79 overtime win in which Clemson covered, the Seminoles' key advantage was turnovers. FSU has forced over 15 turnovers three times in conference play and each of those times was at home. FSU ranks eleventh in forcing turnovers and won't wreak as much havoc at Clemson. The main culprit in the team's first match-up was Reed. He has committed over two turnovers in three ACC games and each time was on the road, including five times in Tallahassee.

Defensively, Clemson matches up well with Florida State. The 'Noles rely overwhelmingly on scoring inside the arc, where Clemson's defense is strongest, ranking third in opposing two-point shooting and third in block percentage. Center Elijah Thomas is Clemson's beast around the rim who ranks 21st in block percentage and in the top 125 in both offensive and defensive rebounding percentage. FSU's road woes extend to its offense. Its leading-scorer, forward Terance Mann, is averaging 4.9 fewer points per game in his last four road games, accruing a KenPom offensive rating of below 100 in three of them, although his offensive rating is 112.2 overall in ACC play. Mann is FSU's leading force inside the arc and FSU will struggle to score without his good form.

During FSU's five-game non-cover streak, it lost its two road games by an average of 17.5 points in which it failed to cover the spread by an average margin of 16.5 points. FSU is just the team that Clemson wants to face for its final home game. DeVoe snapped out of a slump with a 25-point performance vs Georgia Tech on Saturday and the senior will electrify the Clemson faithful one last time on our NCAAB Picks.

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Free Walking Tacos to the first 500 students tomorrow! It's our last go-around in Littlejohn this season tomorrow night against Florida State. Let's make @theLJC LOUD!#ClemsonGrit💪 pic.twitter.com/zrFFlI8QLt

— Clemson Men's Basketball (@ClemsonMBB) February 27, 2018

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