ACC Basketball

ACC Tournament, Quarterfinals: Clemson vs. Duke

Photo by Mark Crammer

Photo by Mark Crammer

 

Clemson’s signature win this year came against Duke, but man, that seems like a lifetime ago. The Blue Devils point to that game as their wake up call, especially on the defensive side. The record sure points to that loss being an alarm clock. The Devils are 11-3 since then, with only one of those three defeats being a bad one (vs. Wake). From that point on, Duke’s D did get better, but more importantly, that’s the moment Jabari Parker decided to stop being a shooting guard.

As for Clemson, they’ve gone 9-7 since that win, continuing to grind out wins with fantastic defense (18th best according to KenPom). Sure, outside of K.J. McDaniels, there are no stars on this team, but they may be the most battle tested team in the league. 10 of their last 11 have been decided by five points or less and four of those, including last night’s 69-65 win over the Yellow Jackets, have gone into overtime.

PREVIOUS MEETING: Clemson beat Duke, 72-59
Down in Littlejohn, Duke had a 50-46 lead at the 12-minute mark, but then Clemson rolled. The Tigers ended the game on a 26-9 run. In arguable his worst outing of his short career, Jabari Parker hit just 3-7 from the floor, scoring 15 points. However, he wasn’t alone. Duke was just 8-25 from three and they struggled to get to the line (15 free throws to Clemson’s 30). For the Tigers, K.J. McDaniels was unstoppable, especially in the second half. He scored 24 points, grabbed 10 rebounds and blocked three shots.

WORTHLESS PREDICTION: Duke Blue Devils
This game will not be an easy one. Clemson can match up well against Duke. They’re already the #1 team vs. the three and the one thing (outside the second half against North Carolina) the Blue Devils have struggled with lately is there outside shot, hovering around 30% from the field over the last month or so. Having said that, look for Parker and Rodney Hood to continue their torrid scoring. Parker should have little trouble dominating, as long as he doesn’t pull a Robert Carter Jr and get soft on us. Remember, when he faced off against Clemson before, six of his seven shots were three-point shots. That won’t happen again.

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