It’s on to the Sweet 16 of the NCAA Tournament and we will see the Atlantic Coast Conference battle it out with the Big 12 Conference as the Clemson Tigers rumble with the Kansas Jayhawks at Centurylink Center in Omaha, Nebraska. The Tigers got here with an 84-53 destruction of Auburn, while the Jayhawks are here off an 83-79 win over Seton Hall. This will be the first-ever meeting between these teams.
Clemson’s Defense Stifles Auburn
The Clemson Tigers had an amazing game against the Auburn Tigers in the round of 32 as they clobbered them by a score of 84-53. The Tigers have now taken out New Mexico State and Auburn to move onto the Sweet 16. The Tigers have been led by their defense all year long and that defense had a great showing against an Auburn offense that was the best in the SEC this year. The Tigers held them to just 19 points in the first half and 53 points in the game and they allowed them to hit just 25.8% of their shots from the field overall, including just 21.9% of their shots from long range. That defense was really stifling and now they will look to do it again against another high-powered attack. The offense has been rather average for the Tigers overall this year, but they have now scored 84 and 79 points in the tournament and have averaged 77.8 ppg over their last four games. The Tigers shot very well against Auburn as they hit 47.5% of their shots from the field overall, including 38.5% of their shots from long range. They will need to shoot well in this one also. Leading their attack in the game was Gabe DeVoe (13.7 ppg), who had 22, while Elijah Thomas (10.9 ppg) had 19 points and 11 boards, Marcquise Reed (15.8 ppg) had 16 and Shelton Mitchell (12.3 ppg) had 10.
Clemson has been average on offense this year as they enter this contest ranked 172nd in the nation in scoring, putting up 73.8 ppg, while also ranking 121st in shooting (45.7%), 86th in 3-point shooting (36.9%) and 43rd in free throw shooting (75.5%). At the defensive end of the court, they have been very good this year as they enter this contest ranked 26th in the nation in points allowed, giving up just 65.5 ppg, while also ranking 18th in defensive FG% (40.4%) and 182nd in 3-point defense (34.9%).
Kansas Holds Off A Game Seton Hall Squad
The Kansas Jayhawks won another Big 12 Title and now they are heading to another Sweet 16 appearance. They took out Penn by 16 in the 2nd round and then they beat Seton Hall by a score of 83-79 in the round of 32. The Pirates played a good game and they made it close in the end, but the Jayhawks hit their free throws down the stretch and held them off for the hard-fought win. The Jayhawks hit 50.0% of their shots from the field overall in the game, including 42.9% of their shots from long range. They will try and do the same in this one, but it will not be easy as that Clemson defense is on fire. Leading their attack in the game was Malik Newman (13.4 ppg), who had 28 points, while Sviatoslav Mykhailiuk (15.0 ppg) had 16, Lagerald Vick (12.1 ppg) had 13 and Udoka Azubuike(13.2 ppg) had 10 to round out their double-digit scorers in the game. Their defense has been very solid this year, but they did have some struggles against the Pirates as they allowed them to hit 45.3% of their shots from the field overall, including 41.7% of their shots from long range. The Tigers have been a good offensive team of late and they will test this Kansas defense. If the Jayhawks can’t slow them down then it could be a long game for them.
Kansas has been very good on offense this year as they enter this contest ranked 29th in the nation in scoring, putting up 81.4 ppg, while also ranking 11th in shooting (49.6%), 11th in 3-point shooting (40.3%) and 205th in free throw shooting (70.6%). At the defensive end of the court, they have been decent this year as they enter this contest ranked 138th in the nation in points allowed, giving up 70.9 ppg, while also ranking 73rd in defensive FG% (42.2%) and 79th in 3-point defense (33.1%).
- 7-0 ATS in their last seven non-conference games
- 7-1 ATS in their last eight games following a straight up win
- None Available
Clemson really put on a show against the Auburn Tigers, but can they do the same thing against the Jayhawks? I think they can and that is because of their defense. The Tigers really clamped down at the defensive end of the court against a very good Auburn offense and with some time to prepare, I feel they will have a good showing against this Kansas offense. The Jayhawks have the edge on offense, but Clemson showed that they can score as well and the Kansas defense will allow some points. This should be a very good game and I will call for the Tigers to come up with the outright upset, as I feel they will have just too much defense for Kansas.
Pick: Clemson +4
The Clemson Tigers had a great game against the Auburn Tigers, while the Kansas Jayhawks had a very tough battle against the Seton Hall Pirates. The Tigers really showed some offensive strength in the win over the Tigers, while Kansas has been a very good offensive team all year long. Clemson scored 84 points on Auburn and I feel that their offense will have a good showing again, while the Kansas Offense will also be able to score some points on a Clemson defense that has been very good this year. I look for the Tigers to win this game with at least 148 points being scored in the game, so take the Over in this one.