This will be the 119th battle between the Cavaliers and Clemson. Virginia holds a 68-50 lead in the all-time series after its 65-61 victory in the contest played on Jan. 31st this season. The Cavaliers shot 55.8 percent from the floor to push past the Tigers in this year's initial meeting.
Head coach Tony Bennett's team comes in with a 19-5 overall record and a 6-4 mark in league play after its 70-52 loss to the North Carolina Tar Heels on Saturday. The Cavaliers hung tough in the first half and went into the intermission trailing by only three points before the Tar Heels ran away with it. Virginia's first four losses had been by a combined 10 points. Virginia is an elite team defensively as it ranks second in the nation in scoring defense with an allowed average of just 51.9 ppg on 38.9 percent shooting. Only five teams have eclipsed the 60-point mark against the Cavaliers this season. Virginia's focus on the defensive end has left it with a sub par scoring average of 63.5 ppg.
Forward Mike Scott continues to lead Virginia with averages of 17.1 points and 8.2 rebounds per game. Scott is leading the ACC in field goal efficiency with a connection rate of 59.8 percent. Joe Harris complements Scott nicely from the guard slot. Harris is the team's second leading scorer with 12.5 ppg after he went 2-of-9 from the field to score eight points against Florida State. Jontel Evans is the top distributor for the Cavaliers as he his dishing out a team- high 3.8 assists per contest.
Clemson snapped a three-game losing streak its last time out with a decisive 78-58 victory over Wake Forest on Saturday. The decision made Clemson 12-12 overall and 4-6 in league action. The Tigers shot 58.2 percent from the field and made 8-of-18 from three-point range in the contest with the Demon Deacons. The offensive showing was encouraging, as Clemson has now shot above 35 percent from beyond the arc in two straight games. The Tigers are averaging 65.3 ppg. Brad Brownell has shown to be a defensive-minded coach this season as his team is second in the league in scoring defense, allowing a mere 60.3 ppg.
Clemson is led by the duo of Andre Young and Tanner Smith. Young is averaging a team-best 13.6 ppg on 40.9 percent shooting from the field. The senior guard has scored in double-figures in three-straight games coming into tonight. Young's field goal percentage has not been superb as of late, as he has gone 14-of-37 from the floor in his last three games. Smith plays well opposite the 5-9 Young in the backcourt, as he is second on the team in scoring with 11.3 ppg. Smith chipped in 20 points and five assists versus Wake Forest. Devin Booker provides inside toughness for the Tigers and is coming off of a nine- point, seven-rebound outing.