After going 16-0, Clemson showed its soft underbelly to the world and 8 of its last 15. Given that one of my friends goes to Clemson, I've paid more attention to them over the past three weeks simply to be able to rip on him better. The fact said friend will be flying into town for my bachelor party at some point on Thursday means he's either walking from the airport or I'm showing up in my new, hand-made Novak t-shirt.
Clemson is a solid team that pulled out signature losses against Florida State (twice) and Wake Forest (twice), while finding a way to "get by" in games against heavy-hitters like Duke (74-47!), at Illinois (76-74) Boston College and Georgia Tech (twice before losing to them in the tournament).
Forward/Center Trevor Booker is their Manny Harris, frequently posting the team's highest points and rebounds per game. Further, the team appears to be fucked any time he scores less than 15 points, as shown in their stats sheet here. He averages 15 pts, 10 rebounds a game - if Sims and Harris can force the ball to be shot by Clemson's guards, the math shows that Michigan stands a good chance.
Clemson shot only* 662 3 pointers all season, roughly 150 more than Illinois or, basically, the same amount as... somebody. Side note: did you know Purdue only attempted 625 3 pointers? OSU only attempted 500-some. Jesus. Michigan - 859! ftw!
They average 79 points a game to Michigan's 67. Given the ACC at times can be dump-and-go Olympics where defense gives way to LOOKHOWFASTWERUNUPDOWNTHECOURTOMGTYLERHANSBROOOOOOOugh, though, means they might be mildly taken aback to find defenders rotating. Clemson's recent troubles against teams like Virginia Tech, Georgia Tech, and FSU are, god-willing, more indicative of Clemson's downturn than the fact they dropped BOMBS on Duke and Maryland.
I like Michigan's chances if they can force Clemson to a slow-paced, 28 seconds per possession game that clears the paint and forces perimeter shooting. If Beilein can make UM of UM vs. Purdue show up instead of the UM of UM v. Savannah State Boys Recreational After-School SayNoToDrugs Campaign Squad appear, UM has a great shot in this game. If not... well.. it's not the NIT right?