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Next Up - Clemson

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Next up for the Devils is a trip to Littlejohn, never a comfortable place for an ACC team to visit.

Duke isn't yet playing at peak efficiency, but in Brad Brownell's second season, Clemson is rebuilding and struggling a bit this season, particularly on offense.

Brownell had enough talent on hand last season to establish his bona fides though: the Tigers are going to be built around hard-nosed defense.

Clemson has held opponents to 57.7 ppg, which is pretty good.

And aside from losing to Arizona by 16 and  UTEP by 13, the losses have all been fairly close: Charleston, Coastal Carolina and South Carolina were lost by a total of seven points.  Hawaii was just seven points, and BC just two.

It's hard to score on these guys: they held Arizona to 63 and UTEP to 61.  Hawaii and Southern Illinois both managed 75, but FSU and BC only got to 59.

So we wouldn't count on necessarily running up a ton of points in this one.

Senior guards Andre Young and Tanner Smith lead the Tigers with 13.1 and 10.7 ppg; Devin Booker is close behind with 10.6.  He's also averaging 6.6 rpg.

Milton Jennings is averaging 8.7 ppg and 5.7 rpg.

Clemson's primary problem has been finding a reliable, go-to scorer.

Young is capable and has become a better player than we ever expected, but he is a 5-9 guard: Tyler Thornton has nearly a half-foot on him.

Booker too is talented, but so far he hasn't shown brother Trevor's warrior spirit and gives up about four inches to the Plumlees and Ryan Kelly.

Jennings by all accounts is a quality kid but hasn't yet reached the stardom predicted for him.

Still, as we said at the beginning, a trip to Littlejohn is rarely pleasurable, and Brownell's physical defense will make it less so.

We remember watching last year as Nolan Smith looked like a pinball as he went through several defenders. It's really more of a slug-it-out Big Ten mentality than the traditional ACC approach which relies more on quickness.

The Plumlees and Ryan Kelly should be able to hold their own physically, and we would expect experienced players like Seth Curry and Andre Dawkins to do so as well, and Thornton for that matter. For the younger players though, for Quinn Cook and Austin Rivers and Michael Gbinije should he get significant minutes, it may be a shock.

Like the rest of the ACC, Clemson is no doubt buzzing about Florida State's shocking upset of UNC and finding inspiration in it as well.

Duke may, in short, find more of a challenge Sunday than they had expected earlier Saturday.

Like Virginia, don't expect an easy time of it.

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