CLEMSON TIGERS (2-0)
vs. GONZAGA BULLDOGS (3-0)
Old Spice Classic Round 1 – Lake Buena Vista, FL
Tip-off: Thursday, 9:30 p.m. ET
Line: Gonzaga -12, Total: 130
Clemson will look to tame No. 12 Gonzaga, the nation’s highest-scoring offense, as the teams face off in the first round of the Old Spice Classic on Thanksgiving night.
Averaging 94.3 PPG, the Bulldogs are the nation’s top scorers to begin the year, winning their three contests -- including one against West Virginia, also in this tournament -- by an average of 36.7 points per game. Clemson is averaging just 74.5 PPG in their two wins against Furman and Presbyterian, but the Tigers have held their two opponents to a paltry 49.5 PPG on 37% FG. Will Clemson be able to hang tight with the explosive Bulldogs? For the answer, connect to College Basketball Best Bets for all the Expert picks throughout the entire 2012-13 season. StatFox Scott has had a nice run over the past three nights, going 5-2 ATS (71%). StatFox Gary is 9-6 ATS (60%) in the past nine days and 55% ATS (11-9) Best Bets for the season. StatFox Dave is 11-5 ATS (69%) since Saturday, to improve to 54% ATS (20-17) for the season.
Booker, a senior, has led the Tigers in the early going with 13.0 PPG on 65% FG. The only other double-digit scorer thus far is 6-foot-9 forward Milton Jennings (10.5 PPG) who leads the team on the boards with 6.0 RPG. Neither is a particularly dominant rebounder, however, which is why Clemson ranks 225th in the nation with 34.0 RPG, a number that is alarmingly low for a team whose opponents shoot just 37% from the floor. The X-factor could be the team’s point guard, Rod Hall, who leads the team with 5.5 APG. He has helped run a very effective offense that is shooting an impressive 51.3% from the field this year (20th in nation).
Gonzaga’s big leads have allowed players to stay fresh, with nobody on the team playing more than 26 MPG. But that means some of the scoring figures are even more impressive—Karnowski is averaging his team-high total in fewer than 20 MPG. Sophomore Kevin Pangos (11.0 PPG, 5.0 APG, 6-for-13 threes) runs the offense and is also a menace on the defensive end with 2.0 SPG. Fellow guard David Stockton (8-for-14 FG) is also a great defender in the backcourt with 3.7 SPG. The Zags’ guards are also great shooters with an impressive 44.2% clip beyond the arc as a team.