Clemson Men's Basketball 2014 NIT Tournament Capsule

Clemson Tigers
ACC (20-12, 10-8)


There is no shame in what the Clemson Tigers accomplished during the regular season. By finishing in the second tier of a deep and talented conference like the ACC, the Tigers proved nearly everyone wrong this year after they were selected to finish near the very bottom prior to the season. Thanks to a cast of unknowns, and a mostly unknown star, Clemson battled all year to reach double-digit wins in the Atlantic Coast.

Big Wins: 1/11 Duke (72-59), 2/1 at Florida State (53-49), 2/18 North Carolina State (73-56)
Bad Losses: 12/19 at Auburn (64-66), 2/11 at Notre Dame (64-68), 2/25 at Wake Forest (57-62)
Coach: Brad Brownell (4 seasons at Clemson)

Why They Can Surprise:
It is hard to understand exactly how Clemson wins ballgames except for the fact that they get after it on the defensive end. The Tigers have a very weak scoring margin for a team with as many wins as they have. However, they have the third-best scoring defense in the entire country. Even in Clemson losses, opponents rarely approach 70 points. That figure is thanks to a number of factors. Clemson excels at field-goal percentage defense. Opponents shoot under 40% against the Tigers on the season. Going hand in hand with that, they also block a lot of shots. The defensive and shot-blocking excellence is led by junior forward K.J. McDaniels. McDaniels, just 6'6" tall, is one of the elite shot-blockers in the ACC and was named a member of the All-ACC first team this season. Defense isn't his only forte though. He does just about everything for this squad, leading them in scoring, rebounding, blocks, steals, free throws.  

Why They Can Disappoint:
If K.J. McDaniels is responsible for all the positives associated with this team, then the rest of the roster can share the burden of all the negatives. No other player even approaches McDaniels' production nearly across the board. Other than the free-throw line, Clemson shoots very poorly all over the court. And McDaniels isn't a perfect player; even he falls into the category of poor three-point shooters that litter this roster. The Tigers go nine, sometimes ten men deep in games not because of an abundance of talent, but because head coach Brad Brownell struggles to fill competent offensive units. Clemson played two separate double-overtime games near the tail end of the season. Neither time did the Tigers even make it to 75 points, and that was with two extra periods.

Probable Starters:
Rod Hall, Junior, Guard, 9.8 ppg, 3.9 apg
Damarcus Harrison, Junior, Guard, 7.2 ppg, 1.2 apg
K.J. McDaniels, Junior, Forward, 17.0 ppg, 7.0 rpg. 2.7 bpg
Jaron Blossomgame, Freshman, Forward, 5.0 ppg, 5.0 rpg
Landry Nnoko, Sophomore, Center, 6.3 ppg, 6.2 rpg, 1.9 bpg

Key Roleplayers:
Jordan Roper, Sophomore, Guard, 7.1 ppg, 1.2 apg
Adonis Filer, Sophomore, Guard, 4.0 ppg, 1.2 apg
Josh Smith, Sophomore, Forward, 1.7 ppg, 2.3 rpg
Ibrahim Djambo, Junior, Forward, 1.8 ppg, 1.5 rpg

By the Numbers:
Scoring Offense: 63.2 (323rd in nation, 14th in conference)
Scoring Defense: 57.6 (3, 2)
Field-Goal Percentage: 41.7 (296, 14)
Field-Goal Defense: 39.7 (24, 3)
Three-Point Field Goals Per Game: 5.2 (272, 9)
Three-Point Field-Goal Percentage: 30.5 (285, 13)
Free-Throw Percentage: 73.3 (48, 2)
Rebound Margin: 2.7 (104, 7)
Assists Per Game: 10.3 (323, 15)
Turnovers Per Game: 11.1 (59, 8)

Recent Postseason Appearances:
2011    NCAA    Opening Round win over UAB
2011    NCAA    Round of 64  loss to West Virginia
2010    NCAA    Round of 64 loss to Missouri
2009    NCAA    Round of 64 loss to Michigan
2008    NCAA    Round of 64 loss to Villanova
2007    NIT        First Round win over East Tennessee State
2007    NIT        Second Round win over Mississippi
2007    NIT        Quarterfinal win over Syracuse
2007    NIT        Semifinal win over Air Force
2007    NIT        Final loss to West Virginia

*all team stats through 3/9


See All Men’s Basketball Postseason Capsules