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Missouri vs Clemson Picks – Clemson’s versatility gives them edge in clash of Tigers

Posted by Washington Tucker on 3/16/2010 2:25:06 PM

March Madness betting players may need a little water on the sidelines to keep up with Friday’s clash between Clemson and Missouri in the first round of the NCAA Tournament. Both teams are active defensively and like to force turnovers, which fuels their transition game. However, it may be Clemson’s ability to survive when the game slows down that gets them to the second round.

  • What: NCAA Basketball Betting
  • When: Friday, March 18th – 2:45 PM ET
  • Where: HSBC Arena – Buffalo, NY
  • Key Stat: Both teams rank in the top 10 nationally in steals

The Missouri-Clemson Storyline

The Tigers lost three of their last four games to end up with the tenth seed in the East regional, falling by an average of 15.3 points, and they needed overtime to beat lowly Iowa State in the other game. Mizzou is a small team that aims to create turnovers and get up and down the floor, but their offense has escaped them lately.

Clemson have lost three of their last five, but none of those losses came by more than nine points, although falling to North Carolina State in the ACC tournament isn’t a good look. The Tigers haven’t won a game at the big dance since 1997, but they haven’t had many opportunities, either.

Offensive Matchups

Mizzou likes to push the pace on account of their ability to force turnovers, which suits their small lineup just fine. Kim English and Marcus Denmon are their main scorers, but the Tigers have trouble when the game slows down into a halfcourt set. Laurence Bowers tries to give the Tigers a presence on the inside, but Mizzou’s bread-and-butter is the transition game with spot-up three-point shooters.

Clemson is more efficient, and they don’t shoot that many three-pointers. They have a solid inside-out duo with forward Trevor Booker and guard Demontez Stitt, a senior and a junior that has raised their game down the stretch. But the Tigers struggle at the free-throw line, which may hurt them in a late-game situation. Don’t put it past Clemson to get out and run, either, although their best bet in this game may be to slow it down because they turn the ball over a lot.

Betting Edge: Clemson

Defensive Matchupss

Mizzou is 266th in the country in rebounding, thanks to their small size throughout the roster, but they’re aggressive as anyone in the nation. The Tigers lead the NCAA in steals, and they have six players averaging at least one per game. But this also leads to fouls, and Mizzou is 227th in that category.

Clemson is also up there in steals, ranking seventh, but they’re much better at staying out of foul trouble, raking 87th. Like Mizzou, Clemson isn’t the biggest team in the world, so they have to play the passing lanes and try to keep their opponents away from the rim. The Tigers are especially good on the perimeter, coming in 12th in three-point defense.

Betting Edge: Even

Injuries

The loss of Justin Safford (knee) could hurt Mizzou’s sportsbook odds as he was their second-leading rebounder before a knee injury ended his junior year late in the campaign.

Betting Edge: Clemson

Betting Prediction: Missouri vs Clemson Picks

Clemson is a 1.5-point favorite in this contest, and these two have met just once, when Clemson edged Mizzou 47-45 at home back in November 1996. This will be an exciting game as both teams like to get up and down the floor, but the matchup could turn if Clemson chooses to slow the game down in the halfcourt. They’re a good shooting team, and it would be much easier for Clemson if they played the shot clock and slowed Mizzou down.

Washington’s Pick: Clemson

For more sports betting tips in college hoops, check out Washington in the Betting Edge at BetOnline daily.

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