When: Saturday 4pm
Where: Littlejohn Coliseum
TV: ACCN (check your local listings)
The time has come to put a bow on the maddening 2016-2017 hoops regular season. It certainly hasn’t gone the way Clemson fans, or the team, had hoped or expected. The Tigers did pull out the win over NCST to end a string of stinging defeats, though the game felt more like relief than joy when it ended.
One of the greatest players to wear Clemson orange will be honored for senior day and that should warrant our respect and attention. It has been a while since we have seen a player put up the numbers Jaron Blossomgame has over a two season span. K.J. McDaniels had one great year and left for the NBA, but you’d have to track back to probably Trevor Booker to find a guy as impactful for multiple seasons as Jaron has been. You wonder if he has pangs of regret in returning considering how the season has gone, but he is a class act and you’d never hear it out of him even if that was the case.
Avry Holmes and Sidy Djitte round out the departing class as major contributors to the program as well. Djitte in particular has stepped up his game the last two outings and will hopefully go out strong the rest of the way. Holmes has seen his minutes slide a bit the last few games but still is second on the team in scoring average and has shot an impressive 44% from 3 this season. All three of these guys need a win vs. BC and to make some noise in the ACC tournament to land perhaps an NIT bid to extend their seasons. The NCAA tournament dream would require an amazing run in New York that this team just hasn’t shown it has the juice to accomplish.
If Clemson ever could say it has a clear talent advantage in an ACC game, this would be the game. The Boston College Eagles limp into the contest at 2-15 in the ACC and 9-21 overall. They haven’t won a game since beating NCST on January 11th. I guess we can say we haven’t had to endure THAT kind of season, but I dare say the Tigers have invested a good bit more into the basketball program as of late than the Eagles have. This is the kind of game you want for your senior day and the Tigers should handle this one without having to play their best throughout. Of course, a loss here would be even more devastating than dropping a game to the listless Wolfpack, who at least sport some high end talent and a future first round pick in Dennis Smith, Jr. I can’t imagine Blossomgame allowing that to happen and I expect him to score 40 if he has to.
The Tigers have a 90% chance of victory according to KenPom. Boston College is the lowest rated team the Tigers have faced since playing South Carolina State back in December. The Eagles don’t do anything particularly well except shoot the 3 decently and limit offensive rebounding. They are similar to NCST in that they can score some points but struggle mightily to defend. This is a trend at the bottom of the ACC as Clemson, the best of the lower four, is just slightly better on defense than Pitt, NCST, and BC. The Eagles allow a whopping 77.8 points per game, which is 303rd in the nation. The Tigers should top 80 in this one barring a horrific showing from the floor.
Most of the attention will be on the baseball team this weekend, but hopefully a decent crowd will come to honor Jaron and the seniors. He has been a great story considering how he had to overcome a horrific leg injury which set him back a full two years, really.