Clemson at Minnesota
9 PM ESPN2
The 5-2 Tigers are back in action tonight as they head up north to take on 3-4 Minnesota. Clemson has had the last five days off after going 1-1 in the MGM Main Event Tournament out in Las Vegas last week.
Clemson beat a TCU that was ranked #51 in the KenPom rankings heading into tourney play, before dropping a close one to Colorado, who is currently 6-0 and ranked 20th in the AP Poll. Going out there and splitting with those two is a good sign that this team can be competitive going forward.
As for the game tonight, this isn’t a good matchup for the Tigers. This is a team that lacks size and Minnesota has 6’10 center Daniel Oturu who is going to be a matchup problem. He’s averaging 17 points, 11.9 rebounds, and 3.3 blocks per game.
Aamir Simms is really the only player capable of guarding him and even then it’s still a mismatch. Expect the Tigers to try different things, including double teaming him, if Simms has trouble early on, or gets into foul trouble.
If Clemson is going to have a shot in this one, they’ll need both Simms and Tevin Mack to bring their A games. If either has an off game, it could be a long night. If both are having success, it opens things up for guys like John Newman and Al Amir Dawes.
Oturu is going to get his. However, they need to make him work for it. Maybe they can get him in foul trouble, although that doesn’t normally happen with him. Regardless, they can not let someone else beat them. Perimeter defense will be key. They can’t afford one guy to get hot and kill them from outside (something seen all too often), on top of what Oturu gets down low.
KenPom is predicting a close one, with Minnesota getting a 67-64 win. We will see what happens, maybe the Tigers can pull off the upset.