Clemson-Wake Forest Preview: Deacons, Tigers Jockey for ACC Position
Don't tell Clemson and Wake Forest they are the under card in the ACC this Sunday. The Tigers and Deacons are trying to lock up a first round ACC Tournament bye.
Clemson needs a win and a FSU loss to Virginia Tech to avoid a pesky Georgia Tech in the ACC first round. Wake has won three in a row and five of their last six games, while Clemson is 3-3 during that stretch.
Clemson 23-6, 9-6, 7-3 (away), RPI No. 19
Wake Forest 23-5, 10-5, 13-1 (home), RPI No. 15
Wake Forest has won eight of the last 10 meetings
Wake Forest has won the last five meetings in Winston Salem
Last Meeting - Wake Forest 78 Clemson 68 Jan. 17 Clemson, SC
The Demon Deacons turned in an excellent defensive performance, holding Oliver Purnell's Tigers to just 33 percent shooting. Wake overcame 19 turnovers of their own and 21 more shot attempts by the Tigers to win by 10 on the road. Jeff Teague led all scorers with 24, and Wake held Clemson's Trevor Booker to just nine points.
What Wake Forest Must Do To Win:
1. Handle Clemson Pressure
The Tigers like to go full court press for nearly 40 minutes. In the last meeting, Wake handled the pressure pretty well, getting some easy break away opportunities. But the pressure also contributed to 19 Deacon turnovers. If Wake turns it over that many times again, they will have a very tough time winning this one.
2. Inside Intimidation
Wake has one of the tallest teams in the ACC and that length really bothered Booker and Raymond Sykes last game. FSU is another team that has a lot of length and the Seminoles defeated the Tigers twice this season. If Wake can get Clemson to force the ball outside, they have a very good shot of winning against an average shooting Tiger club.
What Clemson Must Do To Win:
1. Hit Free Throws
The Tigers are shooting just 19 per game (that needs to go up), and Wake opponents are shooting just 20 per game. In Wake's last two losses, their opponents hit an average of 25 free throws and shot 75 percent from the line.
In their last four losses, the Tigers have turned it over at least 15 times in each game and have had 21 or more turnovers twice.
It is not that Wake Forest is that much better than Clemson, but the Tigers just do not matchup well with a team with like the Deacs have. I see Wake Forest slowing the tempo down a little more than usual and using their height to their advantage on the inside for the win.
Wake Forest Wins By 5-10 points
Season: 23-22 SU through 3/2
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