Keys to the Game; Preview Clemson vs Colorado

by Austin Silvey @SilveyESP

Coming off of a huge win against TCU, the Tigers are set to face their first ranked opponent of the season. The Colorado Buffaloes are 4-0 on the season and came as the 21st ranked team in the Monday AP poll (Nov 25). Clemson is 5-1 coming into this game with five straight wins since their season-opening loss at home to Virginia Tech.

This is a big opportunity for Clemson to get a statement win as they enter a tough stretch of games that include at Minnesota and at Florida State before coming back home to face South Carolina. This is the first time in history these two teams will meet up on the basketball court.

When you look at the analytics for Clemson and Colorado, you'll find that both teams are very similar in a lot of ways. Here are some keys to the game for the Tigers to come out of it with a win...

1. Guard the Perimeter; Stuff the Lane

  • Colorado is shooting 40.3% from three point range thru four games; three-pointers have accounted for 33.6% of their total points scored. The Clemson defense has allowed opponents to shoot just 32.9% from long range; 43% of opponents points have come via the deep shot.

  • While three-point shooting has been going well for the Buffs, shots inside the line haven't gone as well. They are shooting just 41.6% inside the arc and these 2-pt shots have only accounted for 48.4% of their total points. Clemson's interior defense has been solid with opponents shooting just 41% inside the three-point line; 42.1% of opponents points have come within the arc vs the Tiger's defense.

2. Make Free Throws

  • Neither team has had much success at the charity stripe this season. Colorado is shooting just 60.2% from the line while Clemson is shooting 64.5%. The Tigers were 11/12 from the free throw line going into the overtime period vs TCU and shot just 3/8 after that. It could have cost them the game and they have to shoot better and more consistently from the line if they want to win these close games down the road.

3. Create Extra Possessions; Make Open Shots

  • While both teams are prone to turning the ball over some, they are also both equally greater at turning over their opponents. The Buffaloes turn the ball over 18.6% of their possessions while the Clemson defense forces a turnover on 25.3% of opponents possessions. The Tigers offense turns it over on only 16.7% of possessions while Colorado's defense forces turnovers on 26.6% of opponents possessions. The main difference is that Clemson forces more steals (12.5%) than Colorado (10.9%).

(analytics via KenPom)

  • The Clemson Tigers will take on the No. 21/24 Colorado Buffaloes on Tuesday, Nov. 26 in the MGM Main Event Title game. Tipoff from T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nev. is slated for 11:30 p.m. ET.

  • The contest will be televised on ESPN2 with Andy Kennedy and Tom Hart calling the action courtside, while Don Munson and Tim Bourret will call the action on the radio waves. The radio call will be available on the Clemson Tigers Network and

  • Tevin Mack notched his sixth double-digit scoring game of the season for the Tigers in six games played.

  • Six games in a row in double-figures ties his career-high. He previously scored in double figures in six-straight games from Nov. 29-Dec. 21, 2016 while at Texas. It marked Mack’s 38th career double-digit scoring game. While it was his first 20-point game of the season, it was his 8th career 20-point outing.

  • In the Tigers’ first game of the MGM Resorts Main Event against TCU, Simms posted 13 points, 12 rebounds and seven assists to notch his second career double-double and nearly manage his first career triple double.

  • The Tigers are outscoring opponents off turnovers this season by a decisive margin of 124-57.

  • Clemson has scored 80+ points in each of its last three contests. It marks just the third time that Clemson has scored 80+ points in three-straight games under head coach Brad Brownell.

  • Hunter Tyson turned in a career performance against Detroit Mercy (Nov. 17), scoring 20 points on seven made field goals, including five 3-pointers. Tyson was the first Tiger to score 20 points coming off the bench since Marcquise Reed against South Carolina (Dec. 22, 2018).

  • Tyson followed up his 20-point performance with a 10-point outing against Alabama A&M. It was just his second double-digit scoring outing of the season. He’s upped his shooting percentage to 46.9 percent over those two games.

  • The Tigers tallied a season-high 20 assists in the 22-point victory over the Titans. The first 20-assist game for the Tigers since last year’s season opener against The Citadel (Nov. 6, 2018).

  • According to Ken Pomeroy, the Tigers’ boast an experience ranking of 1.30 which stands 285th in the country (out of 351 programs).

  • Clemson and Colorado have never played in its history; The Tigers are a combined 1-10 all-time against members of the Pac-12 Conference.

(Clemson Athletic Communications contributed to this article)

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