Results: vs. Rutgers - L 69-64; vs. No. 18 Arkansas - W 68-65 (OT)
Next Game: Sunday, Dec. 14, vs. Auburn, 4 p.m.
Player of the Week: Jaron Blossomgame - 12 points, 10 rebounds vs. Rutgers; 17 points, 8 rebounds vs. Arkansas
This team is nothing if not unpredictable. The Tigers couldn't hold a seven-point lead at home against a bad Rutgers team yet managed to come from six down in the final minute to knock off a top-25 opponent in Arkansas. Against Rutgers, it was more of what we have seen this season with turnovers, poor defense and an inability to close out games. The Arkansas game saw a Clemson team that looked a lot more like the one some of us expected this year. The reality may be, at least early in the season, that this is a team that plays to the level of its competition. How else do you explain wins over Arkansas and LSU and losses to Winthrop, Gardner-Webb and Rutgers? It would certainly be nice to see more consistency as the non-conference schedule continues so this team can feel good about itself heading into a brutal ACC slate. Even with the quality win over the Razorbacks, Clemson still has a hefty amount of work to do if it wants to even think about making the NCAA Tournament. That's not the most realistic goal at the moment, but we at least saw what this team is capable of in the upset win.
Rod Hall was a man on Sunday after playing poorly for much of the season. He finally took to attacking the basket on offense, took care of the basketball and held Arkansas point guard Rashad Madden (11.4 ppg entering the game) to 0 points. Hall exhibited the kind of leadership Clemson must have from its lead guard as the season wears on.
Jaron Blossomgame is playing with confidence and has been a consistent source of points and rebounds for the Tigers (we'll forgive his six turnovers against Arkansas). If he can improve his free-throw shooting, he could be even more productive.
Brad Brownell finally wised up and kept Donte Grantham on the court for the vast majority of the game against the Razorbacks. As I've said before, Grantham is a very good player and appears mature beyond his years as far as understanding the game. The Tigers are at their best, especially on offense, when he is on the floor.
Clemson has a week off before taking on Auburn at Littlejohn Coliseum on Sunday at 4 p.m.