Clemson at North Carolina State
Fresh off an upset over Duke, North Carolina State looks to take down a second consecutive ranked opponent when it hosts No. 17 Clemson on Thursday. The Tigers are riding a 10-game winning streak and have won their first three ACC games for the first time since 2006-07, and only the sixth time in history.
Clemson has won three straight against the Wolfpack, including a 78-62 home win on Dec. 30 to open conference play. Big man Elijah Thomas posted a double-double and recorded a career-high six blocks in the first meeting, and Donte Grantham was one rebound shy of a double-double as the Tigers dominated inside. The Wolfpack followed that game with an ugly 88-58 loss at Notre Dame, but they rebounded for a 96-85 home win over the then-No. 2 Blue Devils on Saturday. It was the second major upset of the season for N.C. State, which also beat then-No. 2 Arizona on Nov. 22, but the inconsistent Wolfpack also had a head-scratching 81-76 home loss to UNC Greensboro on Dec. 16.
TV: 9 p.m. ET, ESPN
ABOUT CLEMSON (14-1, 3-0 ACC): Coach Brad Brownell’s teams typically are known for their stingy defense, but all five of the Tigers’ starters average double-digit scoring. Guard Marcquise Reed (15.9 points) and forward Grantham (14.6 points, 7.3 rebounds) lead the balanced attack. The Tigers still get after at the defensive end, though, ranking 21st in scoring defense (63.5 points per game) and 46th in field goal defense (40.2 percent).
ABOUT N.C. STATE (11-5, 1-2): The Wolfpack also boast five double-digit scorers, which is to be expected in first-year coach Kevin Keatts’ up-tempo style. Guards Allerik Freeman (15.3 points) and Torin Dorn (13.4 points, 7.3 rebounds) lead the charge, but freshman guard Braxton Beverly has increased his output to 12.3 points per game during ACC play. The frontcourt had a tough time defending the Tigers in the first meeting, but 7-0 Omer Yurtseven (11.7 points, 6.9 rebounds) had a double-double.
1. Reed is one of 15 players in the nation who average at least 15.5 points, 4.5 rebounds, three assists, and 1.5 steals.
2. The Wolfpack forces 16.1 turnovers per game, which ranks in the top 45 nationally.
3. Brownell is tied with Oliver Purnell for third on Clemson’s all-time list with 138 wins.