Clemson tries to ride school's momentum vs. No. 19 Virginia (Jan 14, 2017)
After Virginia's win over Wake Forest on Sunday night, head coach Tony Bennett knew his team's upcoming matchup against Clemson would be tough.
In addition to the Tigers being an up-and-coming team in the ACC, their football team was getting ready to play for a national championship the next night against Alabama.
"I'm sure if Clemson wins the national championship, they'll unveil their team at our game on Saturday," Bennett said after the Wake Forest game. "That'll be a pleasant environment."
The Tigers knocked off Alabama, setting up a championship parade on Friday night and even more momentum for the Clemson basketball team to knock off the visiting 19th-ranked Cavaliers on the hardwood.
After their 75-63 loss at Georgia Tech on Thursday, the Tigers have now lost three straight ACC games and will be desperate for a win against the Cavaliers.
Virginia is back on track after dropping two straight games in the conference, but a road win at Clemson won't be easy.
"You lose. Everybody loses. Look at the ACC -- everyone's been losing," Virginia point guard London Perrantes said. "Duke lost, everybody else has lost. My first three years, I would've held my head down and went into a shell after the loss, but now I try and encourage the team to get back on track. This was a good step forward."
Perrantes started to pick up his game as of late and dropped a season-high 24 points in Virginia's win over Wake Forest. The senior may be coming on at the right time and will need another solid performance against the Tigers.
Clemson, which has been known for its defense under head coach Brad Brownell, sputtered of late by giving up an average of 79.7 points in its last three games -- all loses. The Tigers are now allowing 67.3 points per game for the season and will try to defend a Virginia team that has been hitting the three ball.
The Cavaliers knocked down nine from beyond the arc against the Demon Deacons and have a variety of players who can spread the floor. Guard Devon Hall is another bright spot for Virginia and enters Saturday's game averaging 12 points and seven rebounds in ACC play.
Clemson has still been reliant on forward Jaron Blossomgame, who is averaging 18.2 points and six rebounds.
Virginia's key will be to consistently make shots, which they have of late, while Clemson will need to turn its defense around in front of the home crowd.
The two teams tip off at 12 p.m. on Saturday.