#149 R.P.I. Clemson @ #164 R.P.I. Virginia Tech:
TV coverage: 8pm, RSN
Vegas line: EVEN
$-line: (pick ’em or $1 wins $1 either way)
The Clemson Tigers are a .5oo team at a double-triskaidekaphobic 13 up and 13 down. That means they are .5oo, and that means they still entertain some measure of power-conference cachet at it comes to admittance to some lesser version of a post-season tourney one way or another. That likewise means that this game means a lot to the Tigers and coach Bronwell as Clemson has two winnable looking games left and two not so much. One of those winnables –from their point-of-view- is surely Saturday nights visit to Virginia Tech.
This game is likewise winnable even when viewed through the most myopic O&M lenses. Clemson has dropped 5 of their last 6 for a reason and the reason is an astigmatic one if you are a Death Valley visitor to this preview. The long-view is that this year Tiger squad is pretty good on defense and pretty limited on offense. Virginia Tech won’t score a whole lotta points though it won’t take a whole lotta points to tame these Tigers; especially at home. A blind man can see that one with a cane. In point of fact it has only taken 52 points to put Clemson in check in their last five games on average and you have to like coach J’s and companies changes to notch five-two at home. This brings us effortless enough to observance of todays word… propitiation
- The act of propitiating.
- Something that propitiates, especially a conciliatory offering to a god.
- what the 2012-2013 Virginia Tech men’s basketball teams needs to do to honor the nation’s leading scorer, and quite possibly the most improved Hokie hoopster over the course of his four full years when taken from stem to stern; ever!
Clemson at a glance:
- 20th in blocks per game (5.3)
- 22nd in scoring defense allowed (58.6 ppg)
- 69th in FG percentage defense allowed (4o.4%)
- 294th in scoring offense (61.8 ppg)
- 3o5th in assists per game (10.7)
N.B.A. pros=1, (Booker plays somewhere, be that domestically or internationally)
Injuries=1, (Jaron Blossomgame, 6`7“ 2o7 lb. freshman, explosive wing rebound known for his close to the basket game, top recruit last year; broken leg)
Devin Booker is the best player on the Clemson roster in what I will call a balanced if not star-studded line-up. Devin stands 6`8“ and goes a bulky 250 lbs. upfront. Devin is pacing the Tigers in scoring (12.4) and rebounding (7.8) alike. In addition to that, the burly senior season professional prospect is shooting 53.3% from the floor –due to his residual proximity to the basket- and blocking 1.3 shots for good measure. If you don’t believe that take a look at Devin’s dunk total year-in and year-out; as dood is a one man throw-it-down committee just looking for a place to happen. Hence he also leads the Tigers in FTA’s with 1o7; even though he is relatively a mere 59.8% from the charity-stripe. Coach Brownell’s inside-out game suits Devin’s measurables just fine as #31 is not afraid of doing some heavy-lifting down in the key. The fun part here is that Devin may be even more explosive than old brother and current Washington Bullet Trevor; what with a startlingly springy 37 ½“ vertical leap. Love to see someone calculate a jump-to-weight ratio on that. Devin is also an ambidextrous throwback as a rarefied post player who possesses hook-shots with both hands. 80 career starts makes Devin well seasoned and he has a cousin (Jordan Hill) who balls with the Lakers. So you just know that his family tree can support at least another professional branch. I don’t know for sure if that is on an Association level, though I do know that a bulwark power-forward with mutual handed versatility who can really rise up and finish can and will collect a professional paycheck somewhere on some level. That makes Mr. Booker a fun player to watch, even if he is not a fun player to have to play behind. K.J. McDaniels is a 6`6“ 22o lb. second-year Swing-Forward baller from Alabama. Kay.Jay is however something of a mild disappointment this year after such an efficient 2012. As this kid is a high-flyer (35.5“ vertical) and he will dunk on you when he can. Right now Mr. McDaniels is throwing in a second-best 10.7 ppg, along with a third-best 4.9 boards per contest while leading Clemson in steals at 1.2. Kay.Jay is about as streaky as they get, in fact one could argue he’d feel right at home at a nudist colony accordingly. Mr. McDaniels won a national Christian championship in high school and yet his maddeningly inconsistent play is still en vogue. with 14 3, 7, 12 points in his last four games as his season long yo-yo routine lives on. If Virginia Tech walks in on the hot to trot Kay.Jay, Virginia Tech is likely in for a long Saturday –as that version of McDaniels effectively gives the Tigers two lead-scorers. If we catch Kay.Jay on one of his off days, our odds on pulling this upset just went up.
Milton Jennings is a Clemson baller that I errantly omitted from this preview. Bad on me for that – good on HkyJackHokie for catching what I dropped in a C&P gaffe. </apologies, insert here, check>
Milton Jennings is a big, good looking Power-Forward at 6`9“ and 225 well chiseled senior year lbs. Milt’ is a stat-line stuffer what with 10 ppg, 6.5 boards, 2.1 dimes (assists) a steal and a block per game. That may not be all-anything level kinda production, however that is a very very solid read left-to-right. In fact Milton has improved each and every season coming into this one, even if this one is a bit flat vis-à-vis last year. Recall as well that Milton is the highest rated Tiger recruit going back 15 odd years, and yet now mix in an off-season arrest after telling the cops: “(we are)playing video games and smoking marijuana.” Well, at least he is honest and I suppose that counts for something at the end of the day. That said, there is still something more than a scosche underwhelming about this former McDonald’s all-American and Mr. Basketball South Carolina. Leaving you to wonder out-loud just how good this Milton Jennings kid could have been if he had only stayed on the straight-n-narrow and stayed clean for the duration.
Hurts=1, (Devin Coleman, 6`2“ 2oo lb. sophomore, finished strong last year, Philly street-baller, 3-time State champion, strong, scoring Guard by trade; blow out Achilles)
Rod Hall is a 5`13“ point-guard who tips the Toledo’s at 210 lbs. and leads Clemson at 3.4 assists. Rod also mixes in 5.8 ppg, 2.5 boards and a steal. Rod is a sophomoric defensive stopper on the ball, whose offensive game was described as “timid” by Lindy’s pre-season magazine. Rod like several other Tigers can flat jump outta the building with a 38“ vertical his ownself. Rod is a physical baller who may have been able to pay some measure of collegiate football (Wr) had he so chosen. As for now, he is a former 2-time Georgia AA state player of the year in hoops who seems to have a few more rocks in his pocket than this current Geology resume suggests. That said, the one thing this feisty “One” lacks is range on his J, as he only has a single make from 3-point land since 12.27 –or when he last played us. Damarcus Harrison is the other starting Guard in Coach Brownell’s more traditional 2-Guard’s 2-Forward’s and one Center line-up. Damaarcus goes 6`4“ 2oo lbs. as a B.Y.U. transfer 2-guard. The (Cougar) book on Harrison reads like more of a homecoming (he’s from South Carolina) or homesick story-line to me. Harrison is said to be an athletic Wing type player who currently slots at the 2-guard spot outta necessity after summertime injuries to incumbent two’s (Jaron Blossomgame and Devin Coleman) in the last six months. Harrison was a back-up last year out in Provo and his current numbers at Clemson speak to such. What with a 5.2 ppg average and a mere 21% shooting from beyond the arc. That said, Damarcus was a **** (four-star) prospect and the no.37 shooting-guard according to ESPN.com for a reason; even if that reason has let to showcase itself thus far. Harrison’s immediate wavier was unexpectedly approved, and this is why he does not appear in any pre-season magazines and concurrently why information on his game is lagging behind buy one full year.
Clemson Bench: (2-4 deep)
Adonis Filer is a 6`2“ 190 lb. Chi-town nugget or rookie year Guard who although not a pure shooter by trade, has a reputation for quicks and finding a way to score. Right now he gets you a decent 6.5 ppg, 2.3. boards and a couple of assists in relief off the Tiger pine. In addition to having a double-double cool first-name, Adonis is yet another raw athlete as this Tiger rotation is just about as athletic as it gets in 2012-2013 Atlantic Coast terms. Jordan Roper is a 5`11“ 165 lb. freshmen season bantamweight point-guard who is know for his quicks and who surprised many with the fact that beyond grabbing the Tigers by the tail, he had zero other major D-1 offers! Roper leads the extremely springy Tiger team with a phenomenal 40“ vertical leap and he too is a former South Carolina state champion. Jordan is a smaller yet extremely athletic Guard who employs the obscure mid-range game from yesteryear. Jordan is an excellent student and he also chips in with a nifty 7.6 ppg on a second-best 34% from downtown.
Bernard Sullivan and Josh Smith both receive spot minutes here and there as warranted. Bernard is a 6`7“ 230 lb. sophomore year sculpted baller who has had more than his share of difficulties when it comes to being asthmatic –and Coach God bless on that. Bernard was the #1 signee in Coach Brownell’s first class and is easily view as no less than a **** prospect who sadly has five-star pulmonary difficulties that forced him to miss no less than two months of practice last year. Sullivan was the no.10 Power-Forward coming outta high school according to Scout just two years ago. So you know this kid can play although at 9.9 minutes per game, it is difficult to appreciate just how much he can do when healthy. Right now he’s giving you 2 ppg and 1.5 rpg and let’s all hope and pray this kid gets better as there is way more to this one than meets the eye. Josh Smith is a 6`8“ 255 lb. power-forward who could join a crime syndicate as his specialty is dirty-work itself. Josh is well constructed for such and he brings along some surprisingly smart footwork and soft-hands for a kid having the look and feel of a pure banger. Josh gets you 1.1 ppg and 1.3 rpg although he does lead the Clemson bench at 5o% from the floor due to the fact that nearly all of his shots are from 6-8` or less.
Conclusion(s), illation, OPT digits:
Clemson –like so many A.c.c. teams- realizes that “…there is no place like home.” If you don’t believe me; just ask the Tigers 30% winning percentage out on the road; where these Tigers have been tamed more often than not. Now we see that Kay Jay McDaniels is listed as “QUESTIONABLE” for this one due to a rolled ankle. That’s 11 ppg and 5 boards in what figures to be a tight and (hopefully) emotional farewell contest where stalwart senior Erick Green is concerned. We also see that Virginia Tech is +1 in rest (for a change) and that favors the Hokies at home all the more. Ditto the fact that Clemson is only a 38% basketball team from the floor and only a 59% team from the FT-line since the first week of February. As you can see, this is not a basketball squad that scores a lotta points; and that tells me to go ahead and favor the nations leading scorer (#11) in this one.
These Tigers have not busted 59 points since the beginning of February for a reason, and when you subtract 11 points from that, you are feeling neighborly with a game confined to the 40’s in a hurry. Coach J’s boys have at least enjoyed two offensive outbursts in their last four games, and we do tend to shoot a bit better at home. Although nothing is written in Hokie Stone here where a .428 winning percentage basketball club –such as Virginia Tech- is concerned; I’ma gonna pick Virginia Tech to win at least one more time one way or anther. And this could be our last win until the first week of November, so go ahead and appreciate and savor this one all that you can. All fingers point to that…
Virginia Tech=59, Clemson=49