Who: Alabama (3-1) vs. Clemson (4-0)
When: 6:30 pm CT, Saturday, Dec. 12, 2020.
Where: State Farm Arena; Atlanta, GA.
Watch: ACCNX (ESPN App)
Radio: Crimson Tide Sports Network (play-by-play: Chris Stewart; analyst: Bryan Passink)
Alabama is coming off of a very impressive 2-game stretch that includes wins over UNLV and Providence. Nate Oats hopes his squad can carry that momentum into Saturday night’s game against the undefeated Clemson Tigers at the Holiday Hoopsgiving event in Atlanta. The Crimson Tide shot the ball very well in those games winning both by double digits. There were many things to be happy about from Josh Primo’s emergence to John Petty finally finding his shot, but what stood out the most was the energy level. Alabama played harder and with more energy in those two wins than it did in the loss to Stanford. After that loss, the players got together and had a meeting to make sure everyone was on the same page going forward, and it looks like it paid off.
Clemson is also having a good season so far. They have won all four of their games with good wins over Purdue, Maryland, and Mississippi State. Statistically, the Tigers are No. 2 in the country in Opp PPG at 50.2 (according to TeamRankings). They lean on their suffocating defense to win their games, and much of that success is due to their ability to get in the passing lanes and get steals. They average 9 steals per game, which is 32nd best in the country. Offensively, they are efficient enough and are out scoring their opponents by almost 19 PPG. Most of that is credited to the defense for holding the opponent to a lower score, but Clemson is hitting their shots fairly well and making their free throws, so they are doing what it takes to win.
The key to this game will be if Alabama can continue shooting the 3 ball at a high percentage. Alabama comes into this game shooting around 32 threes per game (13th best in the NCAA) while making around 10 of those per game (28th). If they can keep that up, Clemson will not be able to outscore them.
Clemson Players to Watch:
-G Clyde Trapp (5.3 PPG, 5 RPG, 2.3 APG)
-G Al-Amir Dawes (9.3 PPG, 2 RPG, 2.3 APG)
-G Nick Honor (10 PPG, 0.8 RPG, 1.8 APG)
-F Hunter Tyson (6 PPG, 5.5 RPG, 0.3 APG)
-F P.J. Hall (5.7 PPG, 3.7 RPG)
-F Aamir Sims (13 PPG, 3.8 RPG, 2.3 APG)
Alabama comes in red hot after winning their last 2 games, and they are playing how Bama fans expected them to coming into this season. Josh Primo had a breakthrough game against Providence, and that will continue this game. Primo will continue his hot streak followed by good games from Petty and Jahvon Quinerly, and Clemson will not be able to score enough. The Tide will win a nail biter game that comes down to the last few minutes.
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