Both teams are looking to bolster their post-season hopes with an important win here and get a chance at #3 ranked Virginia in the quarterfinals. Georgia Tech looks to be solidly in the NIT according to projections, but if small conference regular season champions keep losing their tournaments, they could get squeezed out. A win here would also keep tournament hopes alive and give GT another crack at a Cavalier team that they have already beaten this season. Clemson has a very interesting resume, but appears to be clearly out of the NCAA tournament, and could even find themselves out of the NIT with a loss here, which would be a seriously disappointing finish for a team that went on a five game ACC win streak with wins over Miami and Duke.
In the first matchup at Clemson, the Tigers handed Tech their worst conference loss of the season. They utterly dominated a Yellow Jacket team that could not hit a shot all game. In the second game at Tech, Clemson led most of the game, but Georgia Tech was able to make a comeback and eke out a two point victory as Marcus Georges-Hunt and Adam Smith made clutch plays. Georgia Tech has struggled against Clemson recently, winning just 2 of their last 16 matchups.
I originally hated this matchup, but now I'm not so sure. Clemson has athletic big men who play the pick and roll fantastically and are surrounded by three point shooters. Normally that is not a very good matchup for Tech, but in the second half of both games Jaron Blossomgame barely scored any points. When he is not scoring, Clemson becomes very reliant on the three ball. Last game, they shot 45% from three, and still lost to Tech. If Gregory has Marcus Georges-Hunt cover Blossomgame all game, as he did in the second half of the most recent game, then the rest of Clemson is going to have to step it up offensively. This team cannot afford a shooting slump in this game or Clemson could make them pay. Adam Smith has turned it around since his slump, and let's hope that Quinton Stephen's 0-6 against Pitt was just an aberration.
The game starts at 7 on ESPN2. Clemson is favored by 2.5 points with KenPom favoring the Tigers by 1. Let's go Jackets!