There's been a lot of talk recently about the state of Clemson's basketball program. Some believe that Brad Brownell is setting the foundation this year to get the team back to the NCAA tournament next year. Others believe we are regressing from the days of OP. There are valid arguments to be made both ways. However, I think both sides can agree that losing to BC, whether on the road or at home, shows that this program isn't where it needs to be at this point in time. I tend to believe that we are headed in right direction, although I think Brownell needs to play the recruiting game better. But losses like this one are very concerning.
I said before that I was worried about this game. BC was 9-11 and 1-6 in the ACC, but they had been playing much better ball since ACC play started. They had been playing everyone tight and were struggling to make key plays down the stretch to win (sound familiar?). That's not to say that BC is a good team, because they're far from it. But I believed that they were a capable team. Especially against a team like Clemson who isn't immune to laying eggs.
So what happened in this one? Clemson came out extremely flat for the first 33 minutes. They dug themselves a 20 point deficit, mainly through atrocious defense. BC shot 58% from the field and 55% from 3 and seemed to do whatever they wanted. They were getting layups or wide open 3's at will. Clemson's biggest issue was the lack of communication. Our defenders weren't talking. Two Tigers defenders would go with one BC player and leave the other man wide open.
With around 10 minutes left Brownell again went to full court pressure to get back into the game, and again it worked. After a flurry of 3's and a few steals, Clemson closed a 20 point gap down to 1 on Adonis Filer's 3-pointer with just over a minute to play. But Clemson's defensive breakdowns continued on the next possession when they miscommunicated on a screen down low and left BC's best player Ryan Anderson wide open for an easy lay-in. Clemson still had a shot to tie it, but Milton Jennings' 3-point attempt came up short. BC knocked down a few free throws and put the nail in Clemson's coffin.
I'm not sure if Brad Brownell is having trouble motivating these guys or not, but Clemson has a terrible habit of starting games slow. If that is the case, maybe some lineup changes will help motivate these guys. They need something or someone to give them a kick in the butt because the 2nd half of the ACC schedule has Clemson facing UVA, NC State, UNC, and Miami (2x).
After another disappointing loss, questions will surely remain about the direction of the program. And those questions will linger until Clemson starts taking care of business against bottom feeders. When they're able to consistently do that we'll know that they've turned a corner.