Georgia Tech at Clemson
Georgia Tech (8-10, 1-3) at Clemson (9-9, 1-3), 2:30 PM, ACC Network/ESPN3
Georgia Tech looked worse than awful in putting up 38 points against Virginia on Thursday, and Clemson actually looked efficient on offense. But the Tigers, as has been the case most of the year, squandered chance after chance to win the game late at Miami. Still, Clemson has shown it is capable of playing good defense (particularly against offensively-challenged teams) and they are tough at home.
Stat to watch: Georgia Tech’s three-point percentage. The Yellow Jackets came close to knocking off Duke and beat N.C. State by shooting 15-of-28 from three (53.6%). Those two back-to-back games marked the first times all season Georgia Tech has shot above 45% from beyond the arc. But the Yellow Jackets have shot 4-of-32 from three (12.5%) in their last two ACC outings, falling back to earth with a thud and taking their scoring average down from 78 a game in their first two league games to 44 a game in their last two. Clemson’s defense has let it down at times this year. The Tigers played well against Duke but in disappointing losses to Boston College and Miami, they allowed 17-of-39 shooting (43.6%) from three. Clemson needs to make sure the Yellow Jackets don’t get good looks from three because if they do, they’ll get comfortable offensively.
Most important players: Devin Booker, Clemson and Kammeon Holsey, Georgia Tech. Booker essentially no-showed at Miami, scoring seven points in 25 minutes and turning it over twice, including a silly one late that hurt Clemson. He also picked up three fouls and in four ACC games, he’s had three or more in each and four or more twice (he fouled out against Duke). He had his best ACC game of the year against Duke with 12 points and 13 rebounds, but in his other three ACC games combined he has 21 points and 12 rebounds. Clemson needs more from him. Georgia Tech’s Holsey struggled at N.C. State (shooting just 1-of-7) but in the last two games, he has shot 8-of-15 and averaged 11.5 points. Considering his team averaged 44 in that span, his contribution has been significant.
Random stat: Georgia Tech is one of Clemson’s oldest rivals; the two are meeting for the 120th time and the series dates back to 1912-13, Clemson’s second season. It’s almost literally dead even: Georgia Tech leads 60-59.
Prediction: Clemson 72, Georgia Tech 59
Last week: 6-5
Season: 76-27 (15-8 ACC)