Saturday, December 17, 2016

Game Preview - Clemson

Alabama will host Clemson in Birmingham for the 2nd annual Vulcan Classic at Legacy Arena. This will be the 10th meeting between the two programs, with Clemson holding a 5-4 advantage. Tip time is 3 PM CT. The game will be televised on ESPNU.

Stats

Alabama                                                Clemson


68.8 PPG 80.1
62.6 OPP 64.7
43.9 FG% 44.1
40.9 OPP 42.2
50.7 EFG% 51.1
47.7 OPP 48.6
33.3 3PT% 34.7
35.8 OPP 34
63.9 FT% 75.6
67.1 OPP 75.8
36.2 FTRATE 37.9
36.9 OPP 17.2
35.8 RPG 37.1
33.1 OPP 36
30.1 OREB% 36.4
26.4 OPP 33.8
12.7 TOPG 10.1
15.7 OPP 16.6
18.8 TO% 14.8
23.2 OPP 24.2
79 KenPom Ranking 28

My Two Cents: This is an important game for both teams. Alabama desperately needs a quality win before starting conference play. Clemson has good wins over Georgia and Davidson, but a win here would count as a road win on their resume for a program hoping for its first trip to the NCAA Tournament since 2011. Avery Johnson continues to tinker with the rotation. The insertion of Donta Hall into the starting line-up has paid dividends, but the team remains a work in progress.

Players to Watch: As I mentioned, the insertion of Donta Hall into the starting line-up has been a positive. In two games as a starter, Donta is averaging 14.5 ppg and 7.5 rpg, while making 81% of his field goals (yes, most have been dunks). He's currently leading the team in rebounds (6.1), and has provided a post presence that Alabama hasn't had in years. If he continues to play well, the team as a whole should improve.

Clemson has six players averaging 9 or more points, but the heartbeat of this team is potential All-American, Jaron Blossomgame (18.6 ppg, 5.7 rpg). It remains to be seen if Alabama has someone who can defend Blossomgame, but limiting him is necessary if our guys want to win this game.

Prediction: I believe Alabama matches up with Clemson from a physical standpoint, but the Tigers seem to be the better team from a chemistry standpoint right now. And in addition to that chemistry, they will have by far the best player on the floor in Blossomgame. I believe in this Bama team, and expect them to improve as we move into January and February. Unfortunately, I don't think they're at a point in their development yet that they can beat a potential NCAA Tournament team. Clemson - 76 - Alabama - 59

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