Prediction, Preview, and Odds
#775 Clemson 131.5 vs.
#776 Florida State -11
Sunday, December 8, 2019 at 2:00pm EST
Written by Blake V.

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#775 Clemson University
#776 Florida State University
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A pair of ACC teams are looking to pick up their first win of the conference season when Clemson travels to face No. 17 Florida State on Sunday afternoon. The Tigers are 5-3 this year, coming off a pair of losses to Minnesota and Florida State. The Seminoles are off to a 7-2 start, but they lost to Indiana their last time out.

Clemson hoping to break losing streak

Clemson opened the season with a 67-60 loss to Virginia Tech. The Tigers followed that game up with a five-game winning streak. They picked up victories against Presbyterian, Colgate, Detroit, Alabama A&M and TCU. However, Clemson has lost its last two games to No. 21 Colorado and Minnesota. The Tigers were only 2.5-point underdogs, but lost the road contest to the Golden Gophers by 18 points.

The Tigers are led by senior wing Tevin Mack, who is scoring 13.8 points per game. He is the best 3-point shooter on the team, making 18 of 44 attempts from downtown. Mack is also the second-leading rebounder, grabbing 5.1 boards per game. Junior forward Aamir Simms is scoring 11.8 points per game and is leading Clemson with 8.5 rebounds per contest. Sophomore guard John Newman III is the only other player in double figures, scoring 10.8 points per outing and grabbing 3.4 rebounds per game.

Florida State hoping to bounce back

Florida State opened the season with a two-point loss on the road against Pittsburgh. The Seminoles’ best win of the season came in a road win against then-No. 6 Florida in the second game of the year. That sprung a seven-game winning streak that included wins against Western Carolina, Chattanooga, St. Francis-Pennsylvania, Chicago State, No. 17 Tennessee and Purdue. The Seminoles won the Emerald Coast Classic with a win against Purdue in overtime. Florida State dropped an 80-64 contest against Indiana on Tuesday.

The Seminoles are led by senior guard Trent Forrest, who is scoring 12.4 points per game. Turnovers have been an issue for Forrest, turning the ball over 3.7 times per outing. Sophomore guard Devin Vassell is chipping in 12.2 points per game and 4.3 rebounds per contest. He is the best 3-point shooter on the team, making 11 of 23 attempts from distance. Junior guard M.J. Walker is also averaging double figures, scoring 10.2 points per game. Freshman forward Patrick Williams is adding 9.1 points per game off the bench. He has not started a game for the Seminoles this season.

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Clemson is good enough to go on the road and cover the spread as underdogs in this game. The Tigers have the No. 56 defense in the nation, according to KenPom, which is the side of the ball you want to lean on in conference play. Tevin Mack will be a crucial part of Clemson’s road effort, as he is a veteran player who knows how to react to a road atmosphere. Florida State has been luckier so far this year, ranking No. 86 in KenPom’s luck ratings. Clemson has been unlucky, coming in at No. 254. I think the Tigers will keep this game close to open conference play.

Prediction: Clemson

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Both of these teams are defensive-minded squads. Florida State ranks No. 5 in KenPom’s adjusted defensive efficiency. Neither team is going to get out and run more than an average team, so the tempo should not be an issue in this contest. The first game of the conference season usually leads to slow starts and defensive battles, as the teams are tight to start that slate of the year. Clemson has gone under in six of its last seven games, and I expect that trend to continue on Sunday afternoon.

Prediction: Under
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Written By Blake V.

Blake is a lifelong sports fan and hoops junkie. Prior to joining our team at Winners & Whiners and StatSalt, Blake worked for several newspapers and websites. He enjoys combining his beat writing expertise with the knack for finding the winning edge in a matchup. Remember, it’s a marathon, not a sprint.