| ||Tuesday, March 14|
Special to ESPN.com
|Clemson is coming off of a horrendous loss to Wofford, a team to whom they have not lost since the '40s. Penn State is coming off of a season in which it was close to being a very dangerous team, but the Nittany Lions lost Jarrett Stephens in the 1998 NIT, which forced him to miss all of last season.
Both teams enter this game with more questions than answers, and each team lost a ton of talent. Clemson lost Terrell McIntyre, Harold Jamison, Johnny Miller and Tom Wideman, and also lost Ronald Blackshear to Temple and Vincent Whitt to a disciplinary issue. That leaves Clemson a little thin everywhere on the roster.
Penn State lost Dan Earl and Calvin Booth, both of whom seemed to have been in Happy Valley longer than Joe Paterno. That means some new faces will have to carry big loads, or each team will have long seasons in truly tough conferences.
When Clemson has the ball
Andruius Jurkunas returns, and is a very tough, physical performer. Jurkunas will be asked to score and to defend at a much higher level than he has in the past. Jurkunas can shoot it, but it will be different pulling the trigger as the No. 2 option rather than the No. 5 option. Adam Allenspach is a promising big man with quick feet and good skills. He originally committed to Boston College and Jim O'Brien, along with Jonathan DePina and Michael Bradley, and he has shown flashes of being a solid ACC player.
Chucky Gilmore is a big, bruising player who needs to become more efficient in the low post. Clemson has some size and bulk up front, but it is untested talent that will struggle to gain an identity in a league that punishes young players.
When Penn State has the ball
Joe Crispin is a very skilled shooter who can really handle the ball, and he understands the game and how it should be played. Crispin is a gym rat, and has a good feel for what is going on out on the floor. Jon Crispin, a heavily recruited player out of high school before hurting his back, is a top-flight shooter with a 40-plus inch vertical leap. The Nittany Lions have a litany of other performers who may or may not pan out, and only time will tell. This is a well-coached team, but it needs time to find itself. Clemson in November may be just the medicine this team needs to get started.
Shyatt is not afraid to change defenses liberally, and he will probably try to give Penn State a lot of different looks. Clemson can play man, 1-2-2 zone or throw some junk your way with a box-and-one or triangle-and-two (like it did against North Carolina).
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