The Clemson Tigers, who rank first in the ACC and third in the nation in fewest points allowed, are set to visit the Miami Hurricanes on Saturday afternoon.
Clemson (7-1, 1-1 ACC) is allowing 55.1 points per game and ranks fourth in the league in scoring differential (plus-12.75). Clemson owns five wins over schools from Power Five conferences, including Tuesday's 77-67 win over 18th-ranked Florida State.
Miami (4-3, 0-2) is just 12th in the league in scoring differential (plus-4.57), and the Hurricanes have struggled to shoot 3-pointers (26.4 percent, last in the ACC).
That probably doesn't bode well for the Hurricanes. However, Miami is 8-3 at home against Clemson. In addition, Hurricanes coach Jim Larranaga is 9-0 at home against Clemson counterpart Brad Brownell, including their time spent at different colleges.
Then again, the Tigers appear to be much improved from last season, when they finished 16-15. Clemson features balanced scoring, led by Aamir Simms (11.6 points per game), Al-Amir Dawes (11.0) and Nick Honor (9.9).
Honor, a 5-foot-10 guard who sat out last season after transferring from Fordham, has been a pleasant surprise.
"To be that small, you have to have that dog mentality," said Simms, who is 6-8. "When Nick is going, it's hard to stop us."
Meanwhile, Miami is led by guard Isaiah Wong, who ranks second in the ACC in scoring (18.6). Guard Harlond Beverly ranks 8th in rebounding (7.1) and tied for fourth in assists (4.3). Miami also has two shot-blockers who rank top 10 in the league: Nysier Brooks is fifth (1.3) and Anthony Walker is tied for seventh (1.14).
But for all of Miami's individual talent, the Canes have lost three of their past four games, they have yet to get a league win, and they have had massive injury problems.
However, it's possible that the Hurricanes will get injured starting guards Chris Lykes (15.5 scoring average) and/or Kameron McGusty (10.5 points) back in time to play the Tigers.
If not, true freshmen Matt Cross and Earl Timberlake are likely to continue to get major minutes on a Miami roster that lacks depth.
In two games since he came off the injured list, Timberlake has shown impressive vision, averaging 3.5 assists. Timberlake, a reserve, is also averaging 6.5 points and 4.5 rebounds.
Cross is averaging 8.1 points and is making 40 percent on 3-pointers.
In Miami's most recent game, an 80-78 loss at Virginia Tech on Tuesday, Cross scored a team-high-tying 16 points and made 4-of-6 on 3-pointers.
Cross said his hot shooting was no coincidence. He had been slowed earlier this season by an injury to his right shoulder.
"(The Virginia Tech game) was the first time my shoulder felt good," Cross said. "When your shoulder feels good again, it's a whole different thing to see the ball go in. It confirms that, 'OK, I'm good. I can take these shots again.'"
Cross is not only confident in his shoulder. He feels good about the Canes, too, even with this recent rough patch.
"With everyone healthy," he said, "I we think we can be a top-10 or top-15 team in the country."
--Field Level Media