WHAT: Clemson vs. Wake Forest
WHERE: Clemson, S.C. - Littlejohn Coliseum
WHEN: Saturday, Jan. 18 (4:07 p.m.)
TV: ACC Network (Bob Rathburn, Cory Alexander)
The Tigers [12-4, 3-1 ACC] are in a three-way tie for third-place while the Demon Deacons [12-5, 2-2 ACC] are tied for seventh.
Both teams finished last season with overall records of 13-18. Clemson went 5-13 in ACC play. Wake Forest was 6-12.
“They’ve got basically everybody back. They lost one guard, but in this game, experience means a lot,” said Brad Brownell, who’s looking to push Clemson’s current winning streak to three games. “They’re playing with a lot of sophomores. Those sophomores have been through the ACC wars for a year. Those guys, a lot of them started.”
Four sophomores are expected to start at Littlejohn Coliseum on Saturday for Jeff Bzdelik, who’s 46-55 during his four seasons at Wake Forest. Codi Miller-McIntyre leads the team with 15.8 points per game. Classmate Devin Thomas is second with 11.4.
“Cody Miller-McIntyre is a terrific guard, great talent, speed, strength, really knows how to score,” Brownell said. “Devin Thomas, a big, strong inside kid, terrific rebounder, really improving back to the basket moves, strong drive with his left-hand.
“[Tyler] Cavanaugh is a really good 3-point shooter with size…Madison Jones, another sophomore. They play a lot of young guys that have all been through the wars a little bit. I think the experience means a lot. There’s continuity.”
Wake Forest is coming off a thrilling 70-69 home win over N.C. State, which Miller-McIntyre clinched with four seconds to play on a layup.
“You look at Wake Forest’s record, they’re 12-5, you look at the people they’ve lost to, just in our league the two losses are Virginia and Pitt, two of the teams that are playing as well as anybody in our league,” Brownell said. “Kansas is one out of league. They don’t have any bad losses. They’ve lost some games to some teams that a lot of people are going to lose to. Most of those teams are top 50 teams, so I think they’re playing with good confidence.”
Clemson certainly is confident. The Tigers have won two-straight and are undefeated in both league road games. They haven’t lost to Wake Forest since K.J. McDaniels was a junior high school.
“They have a good team this year, I think. The way Clemson has done, we should be able to build off that,” he said. “We shouldn’t take them lightly. We should go out there and play just as hard as we did against Duke.”
Wake Forest, 12-5 (2-2 ACC)
G #0 Codi Miller-McIntyre - 15.8 PPG, 3.1 RPG (6-3, 195)
G #1 Madison Jones - 4.1 PPG, 1.8 RPG (6-1, 160)
F #30 Travis McKie - 9.6 PPG, 4.4 RPG (6-7, 220)
F #2 Devin Thomas - 11.4 PPG, 8.7 RPG (6-9, 245)
F#34 Tyler Cavanaugh - 8.9 PPG, 4.9 RPG (6-9, 230)
Clemson, 12-4 (3-1)
G #12 Rod Hall - 10.5 PPG, 3.8 APG (6-1, 210)
G #20 Jordan Roper - 9.1 PPG, 2.4 RPG (5-11, 165)
F #32 K.J. McDaniels - 16.8 PPG, 6.9 RPG (6-6, 200)
F #5 Jaron Blossomgame - 4.6 PPG, 4.8 RPG (6-7, 215)
C #35 Landry Nnoko - 5.6 PPG, 6.8 RPG (6-10, 250)