WHERE: Littlejohn Coliseum (10,000) - Clemson, S.C.
WHEN: Saturday, February 20, (4 p.m.)
SPREAD: Clemson by 10
TV: Fox Sports
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And after a week-long hiatus since the 74-66 win over Miami, Clemson is looking to win its third-straight ACC game.
"We're coming right back into the thick of things with a league game," said Clemson head coach Oliver Purnell. "This is the last of three games we've had at home, hence the importance of trying to get this one and to cap off a successful home stand right before we go out on the road."
Coming off a 69-50 loss to Florida State on Wednesday, Virginia is in the midst of a four-game losing streak.
"They beat us last year with much of that same cast back. Obviously, we don't have some of the guys that we had," Purnell said.
The Cavaliers are led by sophomore guard Sylven Landesberg, who's fifth in the ACC in scoring, averaging 17.2 points per game. Tanner Smith said the task of guarding Landesberg is being treated in similar fashion to how Clemson handled Maryland's Greivis Vasquez.
"Getting him into pressure situations, making him feel a little uncomfortable, getting steal, easy buckets and rebound the ball well," Smith said.
Along with Landesberg, Smith said the Tigers need to be wary of everyone, in particular sophomore guard Sammy Zeglinski and junior forward Mike Scott.
"When you scramble out of that press you can't waste time looking for your own man," Smith said. "We have to do a really good job of focusing on who you're guarding."
Virginia is a much improved defensive teams under first-year head coach Tony Bennett, allowing 62.4 points per game--third in the ACC and 46th nationally. A year ago, the Cavaliers gave up 72.5 per game (294th nationally).
"They sag off a little bit and do a good job helping on the drive," Smith said. "They do a good job of just flying around on the defensive end when it comes to help and recover. We're going to have to do a good job of moving them around, putting them in spots where they don't have as good of help."
Purnell "assumes" Bennett's system will make it difficult for Clemson to create high percentage shots.
"Statistically, they've done extremely well defensively. The reason they've had success early in the ACC season is largely because of their defense and the style that Tony brings to Virginia," Purnell said.
Virginia is taking better care of the ball under Bennett too. In 2008-09, the Cavaliers averaged 14.8 turnovers per game (242nd nationally). They're 10th nationally this season, averaging just 10.7 a game.
PREDICTION: Clemson 68 Virginia 61
Clemson (18-7, 6-5)
G #2 Demontez Stitt (6-2,175) - 10.6 PPG, 3.2 APG
G #5 Tanner Smith (6-5, 220) - 9.7 PPG, 4.3 RPG
C #45 Jerai Grant (6-8,220) - 6.7 PPG, 4.7 RPG
F #15 David Potter (6-6,205) - 7.2 PPG, 2.8 RPG
F #35 Trevor Booker (6-7,240) - 15.3 PPG, 8.2 RPG
Virginia (14-10, 5-6)
G #4 Calvin Baker (6-2, 190) -3.5 PPG, 1.3 RPG
G #15 Sylven Landesberg (6-6, 207) - 17.2 PPG, 2.9 APG
G #23 Mike Jones (6-4, 190) - 7 PPG, 1.2 RPG
G #32 Mike Scott (6-8,209) - 13.4 PPG, 7.6 RPG
F #55 Jerome Meyinsse (6-9,233) - 4.8 PPG, 3.9 RPG