Since NC State and Clemson first tangled this season, all the way back on January 4th, the Tigers have built themselves a three-game winning streak, with all three coming against schools from the Triangle.
The Tigers followed their win against State by going to Chapel Hill and winning for the first time in program history, then knocked off Duke. Pretty good week! And after bottoming out at 101 in the Pomeroy Ratings, Clemson is up to 76th. This is the same team that closed out December by losing to Miami at home. Everything is strange this season, and therefore nothing is.
Clemson has been better offensively during its run of success but still only ranks seventh in conference play with an offensive efficiency of 99.1. They’ve generally struggled from three-point range and the free throw line.
But the Tigers do rank second among ACC teams in 2FG% during league play, and their success in that area was a primary reason for beating the Wolfpack and Blue Devils: they hit 66.7% of their twos against State and 64.7% against Duke.
Obviously, we need to see a better interior defensive effort from the Pack in the rematch. State was unlucky in one regard the first time around, though: Clemson shot 26-31 (83.9%) at the free throw line, just a smidge above its season average of 69.5%.
The Tigers are unlikely to repeat that sort of accuracy—or get so many damned trips to the line—on Saturday, which will help. If NC State can force more missed twos and also take care of the defensive glass against a poor offensive rebounding team, then I like the Pack’s odds for revenge.
I expect State will be fine offensively, and Clemson has had its own share of problems defending the paint against ACC foes, so I think it’s just a matter of getting more stops and the result will take care of itself.
The Pomeroy Predictor likes State by seven in the rematch.