Clemson looks to ascend in ACC standings

Clemson looks to ascend in ACC standings

Basketball

Clemson looks to ascend in ACC standings

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But Tigers have hands full against tough NC State team

Clemson’s attempt to ascend in the ACC standings will continue tonight when the No. 19 Tigers host NC State at seven o’clock at Littlejohn Coliseum in Clemson.

Though unranked, the Wolfpack come in with a 6-1 record, including a 2-0 mark in the ACC.

“Kevin (Keatts) has a really good team,” Clemson head coach Brad Brownell said. “They are really deep. Similar styles. We are playing more full-court defense like they usually do. Kevin has always done that. They do a great job with it.

“Everybody talks about Leonard (Hamilton) and obviously they have had tremendous success doing it, but Kevin has done it a long time as well. Their freshmen have been really terrific for them. Obviously, they have experienced players. (Derek) Funderburk is a really, really good big guy that can play all over the floor, too.”

Like Clemson (8-1, 2-1 ACC) the Wolfpack plays a lot of players and gets big-time production off their bench.

“They have really good players. They have great depth,” Brownell said. “Their young guys have really proven that they are good and that they can win. Some of them are in at the end of the big games. Shakeel Moore made huge shots against Boston College. So, it should be a great game. We are going to have to play exceptionally well to win.”

Though Clemson has the No. 2 ranked defense from an efficiency standpoint, limiting its opponents to 1.0 points per possession this year, NC State provides a different challenge for the Tigers.

“They have a lot of guys that can make plays,” Brownell said. “They make a lot of individual plays. They attack you in closeouts and they can score in the post a little bit. They have big strong athletes in (Manny) Bates and Funderburk. They have guards that can make threes. They have guys that can put it on the ground and drive past you with big bodies.

“Their freshmen are coming of the bench and scoring seven or eight points a game in sixteen minutes. That is two sixteen-point scorers if they played starter minutes, that is 32 minutes a game. Just a lot of weapons.”

The difficult thing in defending the Wolfpack is the fact they don’t know who those weapons are going to be.

“Braxton Beverly has snake bit us a couple of times with big threes,” Brownell said. “They just have a lot of guys that are good players. Kevin gets them spaced out really well. They are excellent in the pick-and-roll offense. There are just a lot of different ways they can go.

“They rebound the fire out of the ball most times and that is always challenging as well. So, there are a lot of things you have to deal with when you play them.”

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