Deep 3 with T.O.: Tigers look to regain momentum after a week off


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Deep 3 with T.O.: Tigers look to regain momentum after a week off

Clemson takes on Boston College Saturday at 6:05 pm, and Terrence Oglesby takes a look at his keys to the game:

*Clemson brings two straight wins to Chestnut Hill for a game against a very well-coached Boston College team. Jim Christian is having his best season as the coach of the Eagles thus far and has his team tied with Clemson in ACC wins with 7. The Eagles are led by former Duke point guard Derrick Thornton and have one of the best freshmen in the conference that nobody talks about in Jay Heath. While there is talent, BC struggles to score consistently and only has 3 players averaging double figures during conference play. They are anchored in the middle by a Nik Popovic who is a capable scorer when he has been free from injury. He is a bit slow-footed and that brings me to my first point.

Attack The Bigs

While Popovic is a very skilled player on offense, he doesn’t necessarily do it with blinding athleticism. He is a more floor-bound player and struggles to protect the rim on defense. Clemson needs to attack him not only in the post but also force him to defend out on the perimeter. In the past, he has struggled to guard ball screens and doesn’t move his feet too well on the defensive end. This will allow for Brownell’s guards to get downhill and make decisions in the paint. There will also be a good amount of shots near the basket because BC’s rim protection has been suspect this year at best. This should also be a good rhythm game for Aamir Simms offensively. He’s going to be able to get some open shots from the outside when the ball is moving on the perimeter.

Keep them off the FT Line

As mentioned earlier, the Eagles have had a difficult time scoring with any sort of consistency this season. If a team struggles to score on their own the last thing you want to do is give them free looks. The Tigers are going to have to do a good job of playing without fouling at the Conte Forum, and need to maintain their energy off the ball like the previous two contests against Pitt and Louisville. In games that Boston College has gotten to the line on less than 39% of their possessions, they are 5-14. Clemson needs to rotate at a high level to avoid fouling. If they do that Boston College will not be able to score enough points to win.

“Pop The Ball”/Sprint to Spots

The Tigers have shot the ball much better as of late and one might think it may be because of holding their follow through. That is definitely helping, but the main reason guys are shooting better is that the ball is “popping” or moving around the perimeter faster. The pace in which Clemson has been playing on offense has been superb and their percentages are improving at a high rate because of it. If the Tigers are pro-active in their movements getting open, they will be better prepared to either catch and shoot or catch and attack. Boston College is not a team, like NC State, Duke, that will get up the pass line and pressure the basketball. Jim Christian’s Eagles have a much more scout based approach that plays more in the “gaps” to protect the paint. Clemson should be able to move the ball freely on the perimeter and must take advantage of their speed advantage especially with Aamir Simms and Tevin Mack.

The biggest worry that I would have as a coach going into this game would be “is my team going to be able to keep their momentum after a week off?” Being able to maintain that level of energy will be crucial in Clemson’s stretch run going into March. The Tigers have found their groove and have a chance to make some noise going into the tournament. Their quest for a post-season starts in Boston, Saturday night.

I will be tweeting the game in real-time from my twitter handle @CoachTO22. Make sure to hit that follow button. I love going back and forth with the Tiger family during the game.

Also, if you want a more in-depth analysis make sure to take a listen to my podcast “Let It Fly with Terrence Oglesby” available on all platforms including iTunes and Spotify! Click here to listen

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