newspreview 12 virginia faces a sorta must win with clemson in town on tuesday

Preview: #12 Virginia faces a sorta must-win with Clemson in town on Tuesday

kihei clark clemson
Photo: ACC

Nobody had Clemson on their ACC regular-season champ bingo card back in the preseason, and even when the Tigers were 7-0 in the conference, the conventional wisdom was, they’ll come back to earth.

It’s the final week of the regular season, and Clemson (21-8, 13-5 ACC) is a game out of first in the ACC, with a chance to knock one of the other teams a game back, Virginia (21-6, 13-5 ACC) down a peg.

Clemson and Virginia meet on Tuesday night (7 p.m. ET, ACC Network) at JPJ.

The Tigers are coming off a nice bounceback week, with blowout wins over Syracuse (91-73) and at NC State (96-71).

Before that, Clemson had lost four of its last five, including a loss to league cellar-dwellar Louisville, 83-73, on Feb. 18.

The win at State might be the defining win for this Clemson team this season. The Tigers led by 18 midway through the first half and by 25 at the break in a game that was never in doubt.

In that one, Brevin Galloway (11.6 ppg, 45.9% FG, 33.3% 3FG) had himself a day, going for 28 points on 7-of-9 shooting from the field and 10-of-10 shooting at the foul line.

But he wasn’t alone. PJ Hall, a 6’10” junior (15.4 ppg, 5.4 rebs/g, 53.8% FG, 39.7% 3FG), had 20 points on 9-of-11 shooting; Chase Hunter, a 6’3” junior guard (14.3 ppg, 4.5 assists/g, 41.3% FG, 36.6% 3FG), had 15 points; and Hunter Tyson, a 6’8” senior (15.6 ppg, 9.4 rebs/g, 49.3% FG, 42.3% 3FG), had 12 points and 11 rebounds.

You can see the matchup problems here. Hall and Tyson will stretch defenders from the four and five spots, creating spaces for Galloway and Hunter to probe the lane, get to the rim and look to the perimeter for open shooters.

But it can be hit-or-miss. As good as Clemson was in the win in Raleigh, in which the Tigers were 10-of-19 from three, they were as bad in the loss at Louisville two weeks ago, which saw Clemson go just 4-of-24 from deep, losing by 10 in spite of getting 28 points from Hall in a game effort from the big guy.

But this Clemson team can also win when the shots aren’t going down. Case in point: the 51-50 win over Virginia Tech last month, in which the Tigers were just 3-of-18 from three-point range, but held the Hokies to 34.6 percent shooting and forced 14 turnovers.


  • ESPN BPI: Virginia +7.4, 77.9% win probability
  • EvanMiya: Virginia 69-62, 77.6% win probability
  • KenPom: Virginia 69-63, 70% win probability
  • BartTorvik: Virginia 67-62, 70% win probability

Chris Graham

Chris Graham

In addition to being the editor of Augusta Free Press, I've written seven books, including Poverty of Imagination and Team of Destiny: Inside Virginia Basketball’s Run to the 2019 National Championship, both published in 2019, and The Worst Wrestling Pay-Per-View Ever, published in 2018. For my commentaries on news, sports and politics, go to my YouTube page, Want to reach me? Try [email protected].