ACC Tournament Preview: What it will take for the Tigers to advance

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Aamir Simms and the Tigers take on Miami at noon Wednesday. (Photo: Rob Kinnan / USATODAY)
Aamir Simms and the Tigers take on Miami at noon Wednesday. (Photo: Rob Kinnan / USATODAY)

Clemson travels to Greensboro this week for the ACC Tournament, with the No. 8 seed Tigers (15-15, 9-11) facing No. 9 Miami (15-15, 7-13) at noon Wednesday.

Terrence Oglesby takes a look at what it will take for the Tigers to beat Miami and advance to Thursday's third round:

It’s conference tournament time and the Tigers drew the lunch time special with a noon game on Wednesday. The U comes calling and Clemson has some unfinished business to attend to with having lost to the Hurricanes earlier in the year. Miami has talent, but they have struggled on defense this season and don’t share the ball on offense especially well. They are led by Chris Lykes, who can score in bunches, and Isaiah Wong a freshman from New Jersey who has come on especially strong as of late with some high scoring affairs. Both players are extremely aggressive with the basketball, and quite frankly, don’t show an eagerness to pass the ball. The entire team puts their head down to the get the rim and get to the foul line and how Clemson guards is very important this game.


Miami leads the conference in free throw shooting percentage, yet struggles to score at times in the half court. Lykes, the diminutive guard from the University of Miami, reminds me a lot of former South Carolina guard Devan Downey. His ability to use his speed to get into the paint and draw fouls is really high level, but his size is sometimes a problem when he gets there. The Tigers need to play without fouling and limit his opportunities to get to the foul line.

G.Y.Y. - Guard Your Yard

The U ranks dead last in the conference in assists. Much of what they do offensively ends up being Lykes creating off the dribble or a quick pick and roll to get him a look at the basket. They are a lot like Georgia Tech in this manner. Don’t think that Lykes is the only dangerous Hurricane either. The freshman guard Wong is coming off of back to back ACC Freshman of the Week awards and continues to show his ability to get to the basket off the dribble. This has stood out as a bit of a weakness after losses to both Georgia Tech and Miami earlier in the season. The Tigers really need to guard the ball one-on-one this game in order to advance.


The difference this season between the big wins and the losses has come down to two things offensively: ball movement and player movement. In games against Duke and Florida State, the Tigers were moving the ball quickly and cutting with speed and purpose. In losses against Wake Forest and Virginia Tech, the ball was held a half-second too long. I know I have said this before, but with the way the Tigers shoot the basketball, timing is everything. If they are able to cut hard and pass the ball with energy and accuracy, they will have success because Miami doesn’t defend very well after three passes. Energy will be key, and a noon game on Wednesday needs to bring out the Tigers’ best effort.

Clemson will need their focus intact to get a win over a very individually-talented Miami team in order to move on to play a vicious FSU squad on Thursday. The Tigers have shown they can beat a play with anyone in conference when focused, but have also shown their lack of focus at times this season. As stated, Clemson better be ready to guard at a high level to get a win Wednesday.

Make sure to hit that “follow” button on Twitter as I’ll be live-tweeting the game from press row in Greensboro. I love going back and forth with the Tiger faithful about what’s going on during the game as far as strategy and a coach’s analysis is concerned.

ALSO, Episode 10 of my podcast “Let It Fly with Terrence Oglesby” is up and running. Make sure to give it a listen on the link below. I go into detail about All-ACC Selections and a full bracket rundown of the ACC tournament. You can listen here.

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