Who should Alabama Crimson Tide be concerned about in Elite 8

Even though an Elite Eight favorite the Alabama Crimson Tide has reasons for concern in facing several Clemson Tigers.

Gary Cosby Jr.-USA TODAY Sports
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The Clemson Tigers stand between the Alabama Crimson Tide and the program's first Final Four. Unlike against North Carolina, Alabama Basketball will be the favorite, though not a big one. Various predictions have the Crimson Tide winning by two or three points, with one prediction calling for an Alabama 84-78 win.

That Clemson beat Alabama in November means nothing. That Alabama is a slight favorite means next to nothing. Any perceived gap between the Tide and the Tigers should not distract from the fact that both teams are capable of winning the game.

Alabama Crimson Tide Concerns

The Clemson roster provides multiple areas of concern for Nate Oats and the Alabama Crimson Tide. The first is a size mismatch. Clemson often starts two 6'10" bigs and they have a third one that plays almost as many minutes as one of the starters. The biggest body in the trio is 238 lbs., Senior, PJ Hall. Hall is Clemson's leading scorer at nearly 19 points per game. He averages 29 minutes per game, reducing his probability of foul trouble and keeping him fresh.

At 6'8" and 238 lbs., Junior Ian Schieffelin is Clemson's leading rebounder and its fourth big body that will be able to grind away against the Crimson Tide. How Nate Oats schemes to neutralize Clemson's size advantage will be a key to the outcome.

Another potential challenge for Alabama is two of Clemson's big men can make threes. Clemson's main three-shooter is 6'2" Guard, Joseph Girard. Girard is another Senior and he makes threes at a 41% pace. But based on an accuracy of 48.9%, Schieffelin is Clemson's best three-point shooter. Clemson has two other dependable three-point shooters. RJ Godfrey, at 6'8" makes threes at a 42.9% clip. Another Clemson Senior, 6'4", Alex Hemenway is at 42.1% outside the arc. The strategy of Alabama's defense sagging into the lane to double bigs will be less effective against Clemson than against North Carolina. Encouraging open Clemson shooters to put up deep shots may not work.

Alabama has another concern. Though he is not Clemson's leading scorer, 6'4" Senior, Chase Hunter is on a hot streak. Hunter only averages 12.9 points per game this season. But in four of his last five games, he has scored 18, 20. 21 and 17 points. Though he missed all five threes against Arizona, Hunter scored 18 points, plus seven rebounds and five assists.

Hunter scored only two points in Clemson's ACC Tournament loss to Boston College. Talking about his 0-for-10 shooting in the game Hunter said he let his team and the whole university down. He has made up for it in the NCAA Tournament.

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