Photo by Rick Kimball/ISD
Notre Dame Basketball

Hoops Preview: Clemson vs #21 Notre Dame

January 7, 2017

Clemson (11-3, 1-1) vs #21 Notre Dame (13-2, 2-0)

Date: January 7th
Where: Purcell Pavilion
Time: 3:00 p.m.

Quick Facts

- This will be the fifth meeting between the two programs and Notre Dame has won the previous four meetings.
- Saturday will mark Mike Brey’s 700th career game on Saturday.
- Brey is currently 24 wins away from the all-time mark at Notre Dame of 393 wins.
- Bonzie Colson has nine double-doubles on the season.
- Colson also has scored in double-digits in all 15 games this season, which matches Jerian Grant’s run of 15 games in double-figures to start the 2014-15 season.

The Starters

(Per Game Averages)

Notre Dame
Matt Farrell: 13.9 ppg, 2.4 rpg and 5.3 apg
Steve Vasturia: 15.1 ppg, 3.4 rpg and 3.1 apg
VJ Beachem: 14.1 ppg, 4.1 rpg and 1.3 apg
Bonzie Colson: 16.7 ppg, 10.7 rpg and 1.9 apg
Martina Geben: 4.5 ppg, 5.3 rpg and 0.9 apg

Shelton Mitchell: 9.4 ppg, 2.2 rpg and 3.2 apg
Avery Holmes: 11.4 ppg, 2.7 rpg and 1.7 apg
Jaron Blossomgame: 17.8 ppg, 5.9 rpg and 1.8 apg
Donte Grantham: 9.9 ppg, 5.6 rpg and 1.9 apg
Sidy Djitte: 7.4 ppg, 8.9 rpg and 1.1 apg

How They Matchup

(National Rank)
Scoring Offense: Clemson: 78.3 ppg (83) – Notre Dame: 82.8 ppg (33)
Scoring Defense: Clemson: 66.1 ppg (65) – Notre Dame: 66.5 ppg (72)
Rebound Margin: Clemson: -0.6 (232) – Notre Dame: 2.7 (128)
Field-Goal Percentage: Clemson: 44.9% (150) – Notre Dame: 47.5% (59)
Three-Point Percentage: Clemson: 34.8 % (188) – Notre Dame: 39.6% (28)
Three-Pointers Made: Clemson: 7.9 (148) – Notre Dame: 9.8 (19)
Free-Throw Percentage: Clemson: 73.4% (70) – Notre Dame: 84.4 (1)

Wednesday was a big game for Notre Dame, as the Irish grinded to a 77-70 win over No. 9 Louisville to improve to 2-0 in the ACC. It’s always a huge plus to get a win over a Top 10 program, but getting to 2-0 in conference play was almost just as important.

Only two teams in the ACC have yet to lose a game in league play, Notre Dame and Florida State, so every game the Irish can extend their lead is massive. Head coach Mike Brey knows his team is going to drop games, so capitalizing off a hot start is simply icing on the cake and a 3-0 puts his squad in a great position heading into three straight games on the road against Miami, No. 21 Virginia Tech and No. 12 Florida State.

In terms of Clemson, the Irish will have to be physical and the battle on the boards will be important. Clemson isn’t a consistently great rebounding team, but they have size that could give the Irish problems.

It’s not a great offensive team, but Jaron Blossomgame is one of the ACC’s best and it will be a tough task to slow him down on Saturday.

What will we be watching? It’s easy. VJ Beachem.

It’s understandable for a player like Beachem to have an off game against No. 1 Villanova, as the opposing team is going to look to take him out of the game. It’s understandable for him to have an average game against Purdue, as it was a grinder. However, Beachem scored just six points against Pitt and was held to an almost incredible two points on just three shots against Louisville.

Notre Dame is still winning, but they are going to need its senior forward to step up and take the reigns of the team. Shoot, if he’s saving his 20 and 30 point games for March, then everyone will be happy and this will look dumb, but as of now, it’s concerning he can’t get going.

However, I don’t expect a hang over from beating Louisville, as Notre Dame doesn’t know any better. Several guys have chips on their shoulder and Brey has done a phenomenal job of poking the right guys.
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