The Clemson Tigers will travel north to Syracuse University to face the Orange in a weekend ACC matchup at the JMA Wireless Dome.
The Tigers (15-7, 5-6 ACC) travel to New York coming off their biggest win of the season, defeating the No. 3 North Carolina Tar Heels in Chapel Hill on Tuesday night, winning 80-76.
“We needed this,” said guard Joe Girard III after the contest, “we knew we could do it. It was just about getting over the hump.”
Saturday’s game will also bring a little more emotion to a certain Tiger. Girard, who spent his first four seasons at Syracuse before committing to Clemson this past offseason, will make his first appearance at the Carrier Dome since he left last season.
“It’s going to be good. I really haven’t thought about it, to be honest with you. When you are in the midst of the season, I take it day by day like any other game.”
It’s going to be good to see a lot of people, a lot of coaches and a lot of teammates that I have had there,” he added. “But once that ball goes up in the air, it’s business.”
The matchup will be the first of two coming up for the Tigers. The teams will plan to play again on March 5, when Clemson is hosting the Orange at Littlejohn Coliseum.
The production out of Girard and center PJ Hall will continue to serve as the main factor on the Clemson offense, where then they both play well, the Tigers are favored in the contest. In Tuesday’s game against North Carolina, Hall led the scoring with 25 points, while Girard followed behind with 21 of his own, sinking five three-pointers.
The Orange are coming into the game off of a tough ACC stretch, going 2-3 in the last five games. They are coming off of a win, however, defeating the Louisville Cardinals on Wednesday night in a 94-92 thriller.
It will also be the first time the Tigers face their opponent without the presence of legendary coach Jim Boeheim. Boeheim coached in final season a year ago, and Clemson will face a new-look Orange squad that is led by head coach Adrian Autry.
Syracuse (15-8, 6-6 ACC) is led by a standout backcourt of Judah Mintz and JJ Starling. Mintz leads the team in scoring and assists per game, scoring 18.3 points and assisting 4.6 times per game. An impressive 2.1 steals per contest is another factor to keep in mind, as the sophomore does an incredible job of scoring off of turnovers. Starling averages 13 points per game and is coming off of a great game against Louisville, scoring 19 in the win.
Tipoff is set for noon, and the game will be broadcasted on ESPN2