GAME NOTES: The Clemson Tigers will pay a visit to Cassell Coliseum to tangle with the Virginia Tech Hokies for an Atlantic Coast Conference matchup.
Clemson is no doubt eager to flip the calendar to March after going just 1-6 in the month of February. The Tigers bring a three-game slide into this contest, the most recent of which was a 68-59 home loss to North Carolina on Thursday. Following this tilt, they'll host Boston College on Tuesday before wrapping up the regular season at Miami next weekend.
Virginia Tech's struggles extend a bit further, as the team has dropped 10 of its last 11 contests. The Hokies were in action this past Wednesday and suffered a 76-58 road loss against the fifth-ranked Hurricanes. They'll conclude their schedule with a pair of road games next week at Duke and Wake Forest.
Clemson notched a 77-70 home win over VT on Jan. 27, although the Hokies still cling to a 14-13 lead in the all-time series.
The Tigers hang their hats on playing sound defense, and their average of 59.0 points per game allowed ranks second in the ACC. However, they are also last in the conference in scoring (61.7 ppg) and 296th nationally entering the weekend. In fact, they have failed to crack the 60-point mark in each of their last six games. In Thursday's loss to UNC, the Tigers shot just 34.5 percent from the floor in the first half and dug themselves a 14-point hole at the break. Devin Booker (25 points, 11 rebounds) and Milton Jennings (12 pts, 10 rebs) both recorded double-doubles, but the rest of the team combined to shoot just 9-of-35 (.257) from the floor. Clemson's second-leading scorer, K.J. McDaniels (10.7 ppg, 4.9 rpg), sprained an ankle prior to Thursday's game and sat out for the first time in his career. Should he be unable to play on the ankle again, Booker (12.9 ppg, 8.0 rpg) and Jennings (10.0 ppg, 6.5 rpg) would have to try and carry even more of the load.
Whereas Clemson is among the conference leaders in scoring defense, Virginia Tech ranks last in the ACC and 322nd nationally with 74.2 ppg allowed. Of course, the Hokies also boast the country's leading scorer in senior guard Erick Green, who is tallying 24.9 ppg. Green is a volume shooter who has attempted almost twice as many field goals as any other teammate, although he is certainly a capable 3-point shooter (.371) and is also averaging 4.1 rebounds and 4.1 assists. Jarell Eddie is also averaging double figures with 12.1 points and 5.6 rebounds per tilt. Like their counterpart, the Hokies also got off to a slow start in their last outing. They were just 26.9 percent from the floor in the first half at Miami and trailed, 38-19 at halftime. Green finished with a team-high 16 points, while C.J. Barksdale and Robert Brown scored 12 apiece.
Since Tech joined the ACC in 2004-05, 11 of the 14 meetings between these two teams have been decided by five points or less. Still, it is senior night in Blacksburg, where the Hokies figure to get a nice boost from the home crowd against a Clemson squad that has struggled to find the bottom of the net.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Virginia Tech 72, Clemson 61
03/02 10:43:19 ET
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