Previewing The Clemson Tigers

Clemson @ StatSheet
2012 Stats
2012 Roster
2012 Schedule

Clemson Offense 10-11
Four Factors Percent Nat'l Rank
eFG% 50.3 109
Turnover Rate 20.3 183
Off Reb Rate 33.5 129
FTA/FGA 38.5 143
Clemson Offense 11-12
Four Factors Percent Nat'l Rank
eFG% 48.4 196
Turnover Rate 19.2 96
Off Reb Rate 32.6 164
FTA/FGA 31.6 287

The lack of quality in the ACC inflates everything a little bit (and for the 2-11 among us, that should be deeply depressing), but even so, I think it's easy enough to see what a good job Brad Brownell has done with Clemson this season. He lost Demontez Stitt and Jerai Grant and was forced to make something out of a collection of role players, and while they--not surprisingly--haven't been scaring people at the offensive end, they've been good enough defensively to win their share in conference play.

Starters

Andre Young (5-9, 170) -- My man is quietly having a very good season, maybe his best in college. His workload has increased every year thanks to the demands of inadequacy elsewhere, and he's hardly missed a beat in the process. Despite his stature, he has been an outstanding and frequent three-point shooter throughout his career, and this year he's been more accurate inside the arc than ever. Defenders definitely want him to prove that he can score effectively inside the arc, though; the track record is much shorter in that area. If this is goodbye, Ray Dungeon, then I wish you godspeed.

Tanner Smith (6-5, 210) -- Tanner Smith, who is still in college apparently, is one of those sneak attack guys. Like there's no way he can score 15 points in a game and then he gets 20. He isn't particularly good at any one thing, but he's got a ton of experience and he's a solid enough shooter to carry an above-average workload.

Bryan Narcisse (6-6, 225) -- Only an occasional contributor, and with good reason. Too many turnovers, not enough made shots.

Milton Jennings (6-9, 225) -- There's a part in Moneyball where Billy Beane is chastising his scouts by saying something to the effect of "we aren't selling jeans here." I had a whole hell of a lot of smack-yourself-in-the-forehead moments reading that book, and that was one of them. Basically, Beane thought his scouting department was preoccupied with prospects who looked the part to the point where they'd overlook actual performance. This bias obviously is not limited to baseball, and I think guys like Jennings or Calvin Leslie are great examples of that. (Just look at Jennings' "strengths here: 'upside/potential' and 'values structure.' What the hell is 'values structure'?) These are kids who have unbelievable athletic ability, and the fact that they can't actually play basketball isn't going to be fully apparent at the high school level. It's that old projection trap--"with some coaching, well..." They can jump really really high though.

Devin Booker (6-8, 245) -- He hasn't emerged as the offensive force that his brother was, but he's fine as a secondary option. The problem for Clemson is that they need more than that from Booker, which is not his fault. He's a solid interior scoring threat, and he'll take the occasional three-pointer. Good rebounder at both ends too.

Bench

Rod Hall (6-1, 210), Catalin Baciu (7-2, 255), T.J. Sapp (6-2, 180), K.J. McDaniels (6-6, 190). Baciu has zero assists in 289 minutes, and even 2011 DeShawn Painter is like, dude, come on. He'll score effectively when he gets opportunities, but he's your stereotypical giant slow uncoordinated person on the defensive glass, which is to say that he rebounds at the defensive end like a guy eight inches shorter.

Hall and Sapp are freshmen, and their styles are just a tad divergent. Five of Hall's 89 field goal attempts have come from three, while 69 of Sapp's 103 attempts have been from beyond the arc. They are both terrible in every respect so I don't know what my point was.

Clemson Defense 10-11
Four Factors Percent Nat'l Rank
eFG% 45.6 25
Turnover Rate 23.0 37
Off Reb Rate 31.6 144
FTA/FGA 34.8 105
Clemson Defense 11-12
Four Factors Percent Nat'l Rank
eFG% 48.0 133
Turnover Rate 23.2 47
Off Reb Rate 29.9 71
FTA/FGA 30.0 43

In general it appears as though Brownell's been able to get this team to do something Oliver Purnell never could, and that's force a bunch of turnovers while also playing good interior defense and cleaning up the glass. That's the overall picture, anyway. In conference play, they look quite a lot like a vintage Purnell team; no ACC team forces more turnovers, but their FG% defense and defensive rebounding have been subpar. That ability to force turnovers, coupled with decent foul-abstinence has made this one of the top four defenses in the league, though.

The Pomeroy Predictor likes Clemson by three.

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