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Belmont (26-9) at Clemson (22-12)



The Sports Network

DATE & TIME: Tuesday, March 25, 7 p.m. (ET)

FACTS & STATS: Site: Littlejohn Coliseum (10,325) -- Clemson, South Carolina. Television: ESPN. NIT Record: Belmont 2-1, Clemson 17-14. Series Record: First-ever meeting.

GAME NOTES: With a trip to the NIT semifinals on the line, the Belmont Bruins will contend with the Clemson Tigers at Littlejohn Coliseum on Tuesday night.

Belmont, one of four No. 5 seeds in this event, has not faced much resistance in the NIT. The Bruins ran over Green Bay (80-65) in the first round, and then took down Robert Morris (82-71) in the second. They have won 18 of their last 21 games, but missed out on a chance to play in the NCAA Tournament after suffering a 79-73 loss to Eastern Kentucky in the Ohio Valley Conference Tournament title tilt.

Rod Hall's layup with nine seconds to play was the difference in Clemson's 50-49 triumph over the Illinois in the second round of this tourney. The Tigers, who are a No. 3 seed in this event, are 22-12 overall, including their 78-66 defeat of Georgia State in the opening round.

This bout marks the first time these two schools have met on the hardwood.

JJ Mann finished with a game-high 25 points to pace Belmont in its win over Robert Morris. The Bruins only connected on 43.1 percent of their shots from the floor, but they hit a near-perfect 24-of-25 tries at the free-throw line and limited the Colonials to just 39.4 percent shooting.

Although the Bruins were on track offensively compared to their scoring average this season (80.2 ppg), the erratic shooting was out of character. Belmont is sinking 50.2 percent of its field goal attempts on the campaign, ranking second in the country. The Bruins really can't afford to miss shots, as they are collecting only 30.9 rpg. Mann (18.3 ppg) heads a list of four double-digit scorers, which also includes Craig Bradshaw (15.5 ppg), Reece Chamberlain (11 ppg, 5.4 apg) and Drew Windler (10.4 ppg).

Clemson never trailed for nearly 38 minutes to start its contest with Illinois, but the Tigers fell behind, 49-48, with 2:05 remaining on a trey from the Illini's Jon Ekey. Despite a turnover and missed 3-point attempt on their next two possessions, the Tigers were still in position to win in the final seconds, leading to Hall's heroics.

The Tigers play an entirely different brand of basketball than do the Bruins. Clemson is only scoring 63.4 ppg on 42.2 percent shooting, ranking near the bottom of the ACC in each category. However, the Tigers have been able to pile up 22 wins because of their defense, ranking 13th in the country in scoring defense (57.9 ppg) and opponent field goal percentage (.393). K.J. McDaniels (17.3 ppg, 7.1 rpg, 2.8 bpg) has been one of the unsung heroes this season, as he leads Clemson in scoring, rebounding and blocks. He is the only double- digit scorer on the roster, with Hall (9.6 ppg, 3.9 apg) the second option. The Tigers will be missing a key contributor up front in this one, however, as Jaron Blossomgame is out with a hairline fracture in his left shin.

This game features two contradictory ideologies, with the Tigers a slow-paced team that favors defense, and the Bruins more likely to push the tempo. Whichever team can dictate the development of the game will have the edge. Expect the Tigers' superior athleticism, especially down low, to help them grind out a victory.

Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Clemson 70, Belmont 63

03/25 10:31:49 ET

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  • ACC: Syracuse at NC State

    Saturday at 12:00 pm on WRAL-TV

  • SEC: Florida at Kentucky

    Saturday at 2:00 pm on WRAL-TV

  • Pac 12: Stanford at Arizona

    Saturday at 4:00 pm on WRAL-TV

  • ACC: NC State at Clemson

    Tonight at 9:00 on WRAL-FM

  • ACC: Duke vs. Wake Forest

    Tomorrow at 8:00 pm on 620am

  • Big Ten: Wisconsin at Minnesota

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  • NBA: Dallas at Portland

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Final
CHI 5
CAR 2
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SAV 49
NCCU 62
 
7:00pm Tonight
CHA
LAL
 
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UNC
 
9:00pm Tonight
CLEM
NCSU
 
Final
MIA 7
FIU 2
 
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FLASO 2
 
1:05pm Today
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1:05pm Today
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NYY
 
1:05pm Today
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1:07pm Today
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3:05pm Today
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CLE
 
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5:10pm Tonight
ARI
ASU
 
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PHI 103
TOR 114
Final
BRK 110
GSW 108
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MIA 115
PHO 98
Final
MIN 105
LAC 110
Final
DAL 102
NOP 93
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CLE
BOS
 
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LAL
 
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NYK
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TEX 61
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SYR 47
UVA 59
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SHSU 76
CARK 49
 
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SELA 79
 
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NCAT 67
COOK 50
 
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HOW 61
NORST 59
 
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DELST 85
HAMP 75
 
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STEPH 83
INCWORD 62
 
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MCNST 70
LAM 69
 
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NO 79
NICST 89
 
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SAV 49
NCCU 62
 
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ALAAM 75
TXSOU 77
 
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VT 59
BC 66
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MVSU 66
GRAM 62
 
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OKLA 70
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ALAST 65
PVU 67
 
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ARKPB 64
JST 62
 
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