Alabama Crimson Tide: Clemson defense will be a challenge

(Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
(Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images) /

On Saturday night, the Alabama Crimson Tide takes on one of the toughest defenses in college basketball.

Alabama Crimson Tide fans are well versed in Clemson football. Alabama basketball fans might want to pay attention to Clemson basketball. The season is young, but currently, Clemson has arguably the best team defense in college basketball.

Among Division One teams having played three or more games, 4-0 Clemson is No. 1 in Scoring Defense. The most recent victory for the Tigers was a surprising domination of the Maryland Terrapins. Maryland went into the game at 4-0 and averaging 84 points per game. By comparison, the Alabama Crimson Tide is averaging 79.8 points per game.

Clemson held Maryland to 51 points on 40 percent shooting, including only 26 percent in the first half. Clemson led by as much as 25 points in the first half, along the way to a 16-point, 67-51 victory.

Were the Terrapins just having an off night shooting? Maryland, senior guard, Darrel Morsell has an answer.

"To be honest, they were tougher than us tonight, mentally and physically"

As much as Alabama basketball coach, Nate Oats likes to push tempo and rain threes, he also values defense. He wants the Crimson Tide to be just as physically and mentally tough on defense as Clemson was against Maryland. So far the Crimson Tide defense has not matched the Oats standard. The Crimson Tide is tied at No. 173 in Division One, giving up 71 points per game.

Clemson is no offensive powerhouse. The Tigers average just 69 points per game. If the Crimson Tide rebounds well and is not plagued by too many turnovers, Nate Oats’ team should get the win. The greatest concern for the Crimson Tide in playing against a strong defense is shot selection. In an urgency to press the pace, not all shots are good shots. Another key for the Alabama basketball team will be finishing at the rim. Similar to last season, too many strong dribble-drives end up with bad shots.

Same as the Crimson Tide, Clemson had 16 wins last season. In the two previous seasons, Brad Brownell’s teams won 20 and 25 games.

The two teams have met nine times, with the most recent game in 2016. Clemson leads the series with six wins to the Crimson Tide’s three.

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Crimson Tide fans will have no conflicts watching the football and basketball games Saturday. The kickoff in Fayetteville is at 11:0AM CST and basketball does not tipoff until 6:30 PM CST. The roundball game will be available to stream through ACC Network+.