Deep 3 with T.O.: Tigers aim to knock off Louisville
|Saturday, February 15, 2020, 11:06 AM-|
Clemson takes on Louisville today at 4 p.m. in Littlejohn Coliseum. Clemson is coming off a road win at Pitt while the Cardinals are fresh off a road loss at Georgia Tech. Can Clemson make it two in a row for both squads? Terrence Oglesby takes a look at his keys to the game.
*I’m really getting close to re-naming Littlejohn Coliseum to Upset Central. The Tigers have had their way against teams that have come in playing well and Louisville is looking vulnerable. Coming off a loss to Georgia Tech, the Cardinals looked disinterested and seem to be going through the “my body hurts” portion of the ACC season. Clemson, on the other hand, looked reinvigorated in their recent victory at Pitt, and hope to be able to maintain that level of energy and momentum walking into the Littlejohn Saturday. The lid came off against the Panthers and the Tigers started to hit shots, but they will be playing a far superior defensive team on Saturday. Clemson set a school record for 3pt attempts in their first meeting with 38 three-point attempts against the Cards, which brings me to my first key to the Game.
ATTACK THE BASKET (especially early)
Louisville plays a more extended version of the pack line defense that loosely played resembles what Virginia likes to do. The difference is that Louisville will extend their pressure out a little bit more on the ball. Clemson has to do a good job of getting some baskets around the rim early in the game. This will likely have to come from the guards, namely Al-Amir Dawes, because of the big Cardinal size advantage. If the Tigers are able to attack the bigs and get some guys in foul trouble, it will bode well for the Tigers. I’m not saying don’t shoot 3’s because they will be open, but I am saying don’t let the first five attempts of the game be from long range. Look no further than the Pitt game to see how the team played after getting a couple of easy baskets at the rim. Shots just seem to start falling as confidence rises from seeing the ball go through the basket.
GUARD THE 3
The Cards haven’t lost much, but three out of their four losses this season have come when they shot the ball lower than 30 percent from 3. Clemson needs close out hard with hands up in order to give the Cards trouble on the perimeter. One of the reasons Louisville shoots the ball well from deep is their guards can really get into the paint and make the right decisions. Clemson needs to do a good job guarding the ball so it will limit their rotations to shooters out on the perimeter.
KEEP YOUR INTENSITY/CONTROL YOUR CONTROLLABLES
Coach Brownell will have all the X’s and O’s in the world ready for the Cardinals. However, none of that will matter if the Tigers don’t come out ready for an absolute war. Clemson gives up a lot of size this game, especially in the front court. They are going to have to make up for that lack of size with out-hustling their opponent. The game against Pitt showed you what the Tigers are capable of when they are alert and active. That kind of effort is going to be absolutely necessary against the Cards. Close-outs on defense, finishing plays with rebounding, and good hard cuts off the ball on offense are all going to be needed in order to pull the upset against the Cardinals come Saturday.
One interesting coaching move to keep an eye on is the matchup with Jordan Nwora. In the loss to Georgia Tech, Nwora was 1-for-6 from the field and finished with two points, three rebounds, and four turnovers. What made this interesting is the Yellow Jackets had their point guard, Jose Alvarado, matched up with him on the defensive end. Nwora showed that he has had a difficult time scoring with his back to the basket, and Alvarado was able to really pressure him on the perimeter. I’ll be interested to see how Coach Brownell and staff choose to guard the leading scorer in the ACC. Considering the fact that he’s shooting the highest 3pt percentage in the conference, it may make sense to put someone smaller on him that will make it uncomfortable out on the perimeter.
I will be tweeting the game in real-time from my twitter handle @CoachTO22 so make sure to hit the follow button prior to game time!
Also, take a listen to my podcast “Let It Fly with Terrence Oglesby” available on all major platforms, including iTunes and Spotify. Click the Link below to give it a listen!