ACC Preview: Dec. 23

Clemson (6-5) vs. Southern Illinois (3-6), 3:00 PM, ESPNU

Is this supposed to be menacing?

Clemson finds itself in the consolation round of the Diamond Head Classic is it lost 61-48 to UTEP yesterday. The Tigers went nearly six minutes without a point and 6 1/2 without a field goal to start the game;  Clemson led 40-38 at the 13:19 mark of the second half, but didn’t hit a field goal again until 1:32 remained. UTEP had a 20-5 run in that span with all of Clemson’s points coming at the foul line. The offense is just brutal to watch as all the Tigers play hard, but they just can’t buy a bucket against big, athletic teams.

Two of Clemson’s freshmen (Rod Hall and T.J. Sapp) combined for two points on 0-of-12 shooting (0-of-4 from three). K.J. McDaniels, the other freshman, played a season-high 21 minutes and had 13 points on 4-of-8 shooting. He has made 5-of-10 three’s in Clemson’s last four games. It would be nice if McDaniels emerged as a consistent complementary three-point threat to Andre Young, who struggled yesterday on 1-of-9 shooting (0-of-6 from three).

Southern Illinois has lost to Ohio Dominican, Northeastern and Western Michigan, among others. The Salukis have beaten only Chicago State, Northern Illinois and SIU-Edwardsville. If Clemson doesn’t win this game, it might end up in the bottom three of the ACC this year. Fortunately for the Tigers, Southern Illinois’ offense has been much uglier all year long and even traditionally.

Prediction: Clemson 48, Southern Illinois 39

Random: The Saluki nickname comes from the southern Illinois region being known as “Little Egypt”, and salukis were the royal dog of Egypt. Historian Baker Brownell wrote that in the early 1800’s, there was a drought in Illinois and the wheat fields dried up. But in southern Illinois, there was rain and good crops and “from the north came people seeking corn and wheat as to Egypt of old.”

It's kind of gorgeous in real life.

Radford (3-10) at Maryland (6-3), 8:00 PM, ESPN3

The Radford Highlander.

Point guard Pe’Shon Howard will return tonight for Maryland, and not a moment too soon. Patrick Stevens from the Washington Times writes about the biggest winners from Howard’s return. According to Stevens (and head coach Mark Turgeon), Freshman Nick Faust, who has struggled all year, could be the biggest be biggest benefactor. And he needs it – Faust has had to play out of position at point guard all year and is shooting just 29% (19% from three), averaging 7.1 points, 2.4 assists and 2.8 turnovers in 31.4 minutes.

Howard will probably take some time to get reacclimated to the game and his teammates, but Radford is a good opponent to do that against. For a detailed preview of this game from a Maryland fan perspective, check out this one at Testudo Times – fans aren’t taking Radford for granted after Maryland barely squeaked one out against Mount St. Mary’s. But Radford has lost nine in a row and has wins only over Delaware, Shenandoah and Central Penn College.

Prediction: Maryland 85, Radford 67

Random: Radford earns major points for its awesome mascot, the Highlander (a Scottish warrior from the highlands). It also honors the Scottish heritage of the area. And it’s a good thing they kept the Highlander and got rid of this:

Last week: 14-2

Season: 41-13

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