When: Tuesday 9pm
Where: The Artist soon to be formerly known as Littlejohn
It appears the world may finally be getting back to normal now that the Tigers have ended the streak against the chickens in football and now finally won a baseball series against them. Perhaps the NIT could provide Brad Brownell's team a chance at redemption against the poultry. Before we get to that, the Tigers will close out the Littlejohn Coliseum era against NCST. I will personally hold on to some great memories in the old gym, #1 being the time my father and I snuck in with the TV crew to watch Clemson beat Duke in 1990 and clinch the ACC regular season crown. I'm not sure how badly fire codes were broken that day but it was beyond capacity inside the 'John for sure.
I've talked about the mercurial nature of the Tigers the last few posts and the last outing against GT was a living example of it. The Tigers looked like a machine for stretches and then totally incapable of basic basketball for others. If there is a team more up and down than Clemson in the ACC, it would be NCST. The Pack came off a huge victory in Chapel Hill, something the Tiger program has NEVER done, only to get blown out by bottom feeding Boston College the very next game. The things I stated in the first game preview have not changed. NCST has talent, and they can be an NCAA tourney level team for sure, but they have some incredible drops in play mixed in that are hard to figure out. This is the kind of thing that drove Alabama fans crazy about Mark Gottfried when he was their coach, and it has been similar in NCST. I know several have grown frustrated with Brad Brownell's tenure at Clemson, but imagine if the Tigers were this up and down with several top 100 guys on the roster. Such is the life of the NCST Wolfpack.
LAST TIME: Clemson played about as good as it possibly could play in the first half in Raleigh and raced out to a 23 point lead. Jordan Roper was hitting shots, which meant everybody started hitting shots. The second half saw NCST employ full court pressure and cut that lead down to 5 before the Tigers were able to hold on and finish the win. I would have to think NCST will use more full court pressure this time after seeing Clemson struggle against it in Raleigh and how badly they attacked it against GT on Saturday. Clemson will have to do a better job attacking pressure and making it pay with layups and dunks rather than just settling for setting up in the half court.
THIS TIME: Who the heck knows? I could see this game being a blowout either way or going down to the last possession. NCST has better talent, so if they play well the Tigers are in trouble, but we already know Clemson can beat the Pack. Clemson hasn't been able to sweep a team in the league this year, having split with FSU and GT. A win here will mean a finish at .500 or better in the league which would be a feather in the cap.