Tigers on the bubble

CLEMSON - There's no room for error as Brad Brownell and Tigers' basketball team hit the home stretch of the regular season schedule.

WHAT: Clemson vs. Wake Forest
WHERE: Littlejohn Coliseum (10,000) - Clemson, S.C.
WHEN: Saturday, Feb. 26 (4 p.m.)
SPREAD: Clemson by 20
TV: Fox Sports South

Up first for Clemson (18-9, 7-6 ACC) is ACC cellar dweller Wake Forest (8-20, 1-12 ACC).

The Demon Deacons have had a forgettable 2010-11 under first-year head coach Jeff Bzdelik, who came to Winston-Salem from Colorado. Some of the more notable losses for Wake Forest include Stetson, Winthrop, UNC Wilmington, Presbyterian and a 74-39 drubbing by Georgia Tech.

With a trip to Duke and the season finale against Virginia Tech on the docket for next week, Tanner Smith said there's no time to look past Saturday's game at Littlejohn Coliseum.

"You can't do that with an ACC team at all," he said. "When guys come to a place like Wake Forest, they come to win games. They're very talented.

"Just because their record doesn't show it, they're not going to come in here—it's not like they want to lose. They're going to come in here and fight."

And the Demon Deacons do indeed have talent. According to Scout.com, there are three former three-stars, four four-stars and a five-star on the roster.

"I think their strengths are their perimeter players," said Clemson head coach Brad Brownell. "They're young, but they guys are talented. J.T. Terrell is talented. Travis McKie is very talented. They just don't have a true low-post scorer, and that puts pressure on your team."

McKie, a 6-7 forward, leads all ACC freshmen in rebounding (7.6 rpg), double-doubles (six), double-figure scoring games (201) and times led his team in scoring (12). He's second to only North Carolina's Harrison Barnes in points per game (12.9).

Terrell, a 6-3 freshman guard, is second among all Wake Forest scorers, averaging 11.6.

The Demon Deacons are third in the ACC with a 36.7 percentage from behind the 3-point line and is seventh with six made 3's a game.

"They can make 3's," Brownell said. "Anytime you can make 3's, you're dangerous. Gary Clark is one of the best 3-point shooters in the country."

Clark, the team's lone senior, is shooting 57 percent from downtown.

Smith said he and the rest of the Clemson guards and wings will play a big part in ensuring that Wake Forest doesn't get good looks from the perimeter.

"They have a lot of really good shooters. We're really going to have to do a good job, just kind of knowing where they are at all times," he said.

With the Tigers barely hanging onto the NCAA Tournament bubble, a slip up against Wake Forest could prove to be a death sentence to the NIT.

"We're on the bubble, off the bubble—we keep kind of swaying in and out," Smith said. "The only thing you can do for that is win games. Don't leave it to chance and win these games you need to win."

Wake Forest (8-20, 1-12)
G #0 J.T. Terrell (6-3, 175) - 11.6 PPG, 2.1 RPG
G #2 Gary Clark (6-4, 200) - 10.6 PPG, 2.2 RPG
G #11 C.J. Harris (6-3, 185) - 10.6 PPG, 3.8 APG
F #30 Travis McKie (6-7, 205) - 12.9 PPG, 7.6 RPG
C #40 Ty Walker (7-0, 230) - 4.0 PPG, 3.7 RPG

Clemson (18-9,76-6)
G #2 Demontez Stitt (6-2, 180) - 14.1 PPG, 4.3 RPG
G #11 Andre Young (5-9, 170) - 11.1 PPG, 3.0 APG
G #5 Tanner Smith (6-5, 210) - 7.8 PPG, 3.6 RPG
F #45 Jerai Grant (6-8, 230) - 12.3 PPG, 6.5 RPG
F #31 Devin Booker (6-8, 245) - 7.7 PPG, 5.3 RPG

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