Thank goodness for football! Basketball has done little to stoke the fires of the Clemson faithful beyond the die hards who will suffer through anything the Tigers do. I feel a lot like this clip...
So far Clemson has zero good wins. Every decent high major team has defeated Clemson in a variety of ways. The common denominator has been one terrible stretch of play where the Tigers have been hit with a major run by the opposition. Poor shooting and decision making coupled with defensive and rebounding lapses highlight these runs. This is a veteran team and more should be expected at this stage of the Brownell era. Needless to say the natives are growing more and more restless knowing Brownell has a nearly bulletproof contract. I can appreciate Brownell as a coach but I am growing more worried that his style just isn't a fit for Clemson. Finding the player who is athletic enough to guard to Brownell's standard yet skilled enough to be effective on offense has proven to be a major challenge. Now a much needed postseason run seems unlikely as a brutal ACC slate awaits. The Tigers desperately need a confidence boosting win over a high major opponent and UGA is a great opportunity.
The Dawgs are coming off their best performance of the year when they handled Georgia Tech by 14 in Athens. Georgia has been getting very good production out of post Yante Maten who averages nearly a double double at 16.9 points and 8 boards per game. He also blocks shots at a KJ McDaniels like 2.3 a game. Clemson's bigs need to find a way to corral Maten for sure. He has had at least 17 in five straight games. A key to this game could be Maten's production versus Jaron Blossomgame's. Another worry is small but dynamic guard J.J. Frazier who dropped 35 on the Jackets with 6 of 8 three point shooting. If UGA gets both Maten and Frazier going, it will be a long night for the Tigers. I am worried about Clemson's ability to contain Frazier without a Rod Hall on the roster.
Clemson needs to find its true identity before it is too late. The increased pace of play has not netted great results as the defense has not been as consistent as in years past. The Tigers need to grind it out in Athens and find a way to get either Frazier or Maten out of the game or out of rhythm. Circle the freaking wagons!