Augusta Free Press

Game Preview: Clemson, minus Grantham, heads to #2 Virginia

Clemson faces its first test without injured forward Donte Grantham in probably the toughest environment possible – at second-ranked Virginia.

Grantham suffered a torn ACL in the Tigers’ 67-58 win over Notre Dame on Saturday after his right knee buckled while being fouled from behind.

The 6’8” senior had been averaging a career-best 14.2 points and 6.9 rebounds per game, shooting 56 percent from the floor and 41.9 percent from three-point range.

Grantham was also ranked in the top 20 in the ACC in defensive rating, a foundational piece for Clemson’s 12th-rated defense, according to the KenPom.com efficiency ratings.

Clemson (16-3, 5-2 ACC) seemed a lock for the program’s first NCAA Tournament bid since 2011 before Grantham’s injury.

Now, a roster that isn’t what you’d call that deep – coach Brad Brownell had settled on a seven-man rotation that had him getting 20-25 minutes per game from reserves David Skara and Mark Donnal – gets even thinner, and you’d have to think that the road back to the Big Dance thus gets a little tougher.

Key players: Clemson

Keys to the game: Virginia

Preview by Chris Graham