No. 25 Clemson is off to its best start in the Brad Brownell era and will look to continue its early success with a win against Louisville on Saturday at noon in Littlejohn Coliseum.
The Tigers have won nine consecutive games and are trying to improve to 3-0 in the ACC for the first time since the 2006-07 season.
Clemson (13-1) is coming off a 74-70 win at Boston College, while Louisville (11-3, 1-0) defeated Pitt by 26 points in its last game.
The Cardinals are under the direction of first-year coach David Padgett, who was named the interim coach when Rick Pitino was fired in the fall after it was announced that Louisville’s program and others were being investigated by the FBI.
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“It was a great road win, and now we’re going to play a very talented Louisville team. David’s done a good job with the group,” Brownell said Friday. “They’re off to a great start. Exceptional length with the frontcourt. They’re one of the best shot-blocking teams in our league ... experienced guards, and obviously those guys are used to winning. They’re playing very similarly to how they played under coach Pitino, and they looked pretty comfortable and are playing pretty well.”
The Tigers have used a balanced scoring attack this season, with five players averaging double figures in points.
Marcquise Reed and Donte Grantham are leading the way at better than 15 points per game, and Grantham is coming off one of the best games of his career.
The senior finished with 23 points, 14 rebounds, five assists and three steals Wednesday against Boston College.
“I think just getting a lot of stuff at the rim, just really building my rhythm,” Grantham said of what’s been the difference for him this year. “I think just me rebounding the ball gives me a lot of confidence. And this year I’m getting to the free throw line way more than I did last year.”
Louisville is led by Deng Adel, who is averaging 15 points per game.
The Cardinals are 0-2 on the road, but those losses have come at No. 17 Kentucky and at No. 13 Purdue.
Louisville finished 25-9 last season before losing to Michigan in the NCAA Tournament.
“They still have great players ... They’ve got all those guys back from a lot of winning teams,” Brownell said. “They’ve got very good players, they’re playing very similarly. I think their staff has done a great job of kind of keeping the noise away from their team, and their kids just want to play. I think they’re playing good basketball; they’re off to a good start. They’ll come in here and be as big as anybody we’ll see in our league, maybe, except for Duke.”
Who: Louisville (11-3, 1-0 ACC) at Clemson (13-1, 2-0 ACC)
When: 12:06 p.m. Saturday
Where: Littlejohn Coliseum (9,000) in Clemson
Radio: 93.1 FM in Columbia area
Series: Louisville leads 5-1
Last meeting: Louisville won 92-60 last year.