The Cardinals are coming off a big win over Duke heading into the January 27th Louisville at Clemson pick. Unfortunately, that means a team can be ripe for a letdown, which is what Clemson is hoping as they try to rebound from three straight blowout defeats on their end.
The Tigers haven’t been able to keep a game within 18 points in any of their last three defeats. Clemson had been playing good defense, but opponents have gone for 80+ in those three straight losses. Louisville as a team doesn’t put up a ton of points, but they do have the #3 scorer in the conference in Carlik Jones. Oddsmakers have #23 Louisville a +1.5 underdog.
Louisville Ready for a Challenge
The Cardinals likely wont get complacent in the January 27th Louisville at Clemson pick as they’ve just climbed into the top 25 and know that the home team has won the last seven in this series. That includes a 77-62 loss at Clemson last February, when the clamping Tiger defense was on display.
Louisville does have momentum though, after toppling Duke 70-65 as -2 point home favorites on Saturday. Jones, who is third in the ACC with 18.4 ppg, had 24 vs. the Blue Devils. Jones has 23+ in three of the last four, and will be a hard act for the Clemson offense to keep pace with as the Tigers are last in the ACC in scoring.
Saturday’s win over the Blue Devils was a nice bounce back for the Cardinals, who fell 78-72 at Miami as -4.5 favorites and got stomped 78-65 at home vs. Florida State as -4 favorites in their two games prior. Louisville is a decent 3-2 on the road this season, one of those defeats being a 37 point loss at Wisconsin however.
Clemson’s Defense in Trouble?
The plan for the Tigers is to slow down the pace and try to beat a team in half court sets. It’s how Clemson has posted the 2nd lowest scoring defense in the ACC, but also the worst offense at just 66.1 ppg.
The only problem with that strategy for Brad Brownell’s team is that they aren’t getting the stops on the defensive end anymore. Over the last three games Virginia has scored a dominant 85-50 win, Georgia Tech was victorious 83-65, and FSU sent the Tigers packing 80-61 on Saturday. When you can’t score and can’t stop, things usually don’t work out well.
One positive for Clemson is that Louisville has had to scramble a bit as the Tigers opponent was originally supposed to be Boston College, but COVID caused some rearranging. Clemson also won this matchup last year as +4.5 home underdogs, limiting Louisville to 6-27 from three point range.
January 27th Louisville at Clemson Pick
It’s just hard to trust a Clemson team that has struggled so much on defense lately and doesn’t have the offense to counterbalance that. The home team has won the last 7, but Jones is one of the best players in the conference, and gives Louisville an edge despite the short notice for playing this game.
Louisville 74 – Clemson 64
Free Pick: Louisville +1.5