Final Thoughts on Clemson-Maryland

Where: Littlejohn Coliseum, Clemson

When: 5:30

Where to Watch: CSN, Justin.tv (p/w is juanjuan)

Line: Clemson -5.5.

The news that Demontez Stitt is out and Trevor Booker is sick drastically alters this game. I'll keep this quick, because I'm tired, but there are a few major keys that I see, enumerated in basketball cliches:

  • Limit Turnovers - Without Stitt, Clemson thrives on easy points created by a suffocating defense. I don't care if they don't score (well, I do, but it isn't as bad) but at the very least force Clemson to set their offense up in the halfcourt. That's where they've struggled since losing Stitt.
  • Control the Crowd and Stay Composed - Littlejohn can rock. Hard. Doing the aforementioned limiting of turnovers, avoiding Clemson runs as much as possible, and frequent timeout use should help keep fans under control. I'm not so sure that they'll be completely able to avoid the usual stadium explosion, so staying under control when it happens, and preferably having both Greivis Vasquez and Eric Hayes on the floor at that point, is a major key.
  • Keep Booker Under Control - Obvious and easier since he's sick, but without Stitt there is no legitimate second option for Clemson. If they can somehow keep Trevor Booker from dominating the glass, Clemson doesn't have any other established option.
Prediction: No Stitt and sick Booker = Terp win. Maryland 71, Clemson 63. KenPom predictor has Clemson by 1.

Gameday Reading:

 

Missing link - Tiger Illustrated
"On Jan. 18, Demontez Stitt was confident that the sprained foot he suffered two days earlier in a win at N.C. State would be better by the end of the week.

Twelve days later, the best-case scenario for Stitt's left foot returning to normal is two to three weeks."

...

"''It's different, and everybody's got to adjust a little bit,' Purnell said. "One of the obvious things he gets us is easy baskets off penetration. We were tentative against Boston College, and we didn't get much of that at all. WE've made a point to be more aggressive with all of our guys, but Demontez has a natural acumen for that - slicing to the basket, and that kind of thing. You've got to get points in a different way. I think offensively, we've got to have more movement and cutting without him.'"

Tigers face ‘Mr. Personality’ - Greenville News
'"People either love me or hate me," Vasquez said. "That’s my personality."

'Vasquez, who will make a final appearance at Clemson University’s Littlejohn Coliseum when the Tigers host the league-leading Terrapins at 5:30 p.m. Sunday, has proudly assumed the mantle of "Most Hated Player" in the Atlantic Coast Conference, succeeding Duke’s Greg Paulus, and J.J. Redick before him.'

Clemson's up-and-down season - Tracking the Terps
"The ESPN GameDay crew came out for the Duke game, which was a hard ticket to find. Tigers fans arrived hours before the game and were primed for another big win. And then the Blue Devils steamrolled Clemson in the second half, winning, 60-47.

Clemson seems to have not quite recovered. The Tigers were upset in the next game at Boston College and enter Sunday's contest having lost three in a row."

Greivis Vasquez Is Unconcerned By Demontez Stitt's Playing Status
'"I mean, I don't understand why people making such a big deal whether he's in the lineup or not," Vasquez said. "I thought he wasn't a big difference last year. I thought they got K.C. Rivers, which was a way better ball-handler than him. I think the guy (Stitt) is good, give him credit, but, I mean, I don't think it's any difference, you know what I'm saying? We're ready to play Clemson, and if we talk about difference, maybe if Booker is out, that's a big difference. I mean, Stitt is a good player, you've got to give him credit, but I mean, we're not intimidated of him being out of or in the lineup. I mean, who is he in terms of the best players in the ACC? We're just trying to play a good game and just win this game."'

Terps not slowing down after halftime - D1SCOURSE
'“I think our mindset is different this year as far as closing out games,” guard Sean Mosley said. “Last year, we struggled closing out a lot of games. We lost 20-point, 17-point leads last year. I think we’ve done a great job this year of focusing on coming out and starting the game strong and finishing the game the same way. It’s just the effort we have this year.”'

Surviving without Demontez Stitt
'“As of right now, it doesn’t look like I’m going to be out there,” he said before practice Saturday. “I haven’t practiced in a week and it’s kind of hard to put pressure on it. Even when I’m walking I have to be careful I don’t extend it too much. It doesn’t hurt when I’m on my heel but when I’m up on my toes it kind of hurts when I put all my body weight on it and pressure.”

"Purnell talked before practice, but said the Tigers would "be lucky" to get 10-15 minutes out of Stitt today.'

Tigers face crucial ACC test again without Stitt’s services - Anderson Independent Mail
"Entering today’s 5:30 p.m. home matchup with Maryland (14-5, 4-1 ACC), the Tigers are reeling. They’ve lost three straight and stand at 15-6, 3-4 in league play, and will likely be without junior point guard Demontez Stitt for a second straight game due to a sprained left foot.

"Tonight is crucial, and Purnell knows it.

"'I’m not sure,” he said, “that we’ve had a more important game than this one.”

 

 

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