Friday, January 5

Clemson Tiger Basketball: And then there were two

So it is. Andy Katz is on the OP-wagon. It is an insider job, so you need a password. However, here is the link, and a brief snippet:

- One of the main reasons Clemson is different going into ACC play this season than the one that started 11-0 last season is pretty simple: James Mays.

- He didn't play in the ACC last season because he was academically ineligible. He's eligible this season. So,
there you go.

- "It's pretty clear," Clemson coach Oliver Purnell said. "We haven't lost a game with him in the lineup the past two seasons."

As the wagon is expanding nationally, it looks as if locally people are starting to hop on as well. Realistically, this should have been happening some time ago. OP is deserves more than marginal, fair-weather support from those in and around Clemson. OP brings Clemson Tiger Basketball an amount of class they have not had in a long time, maybe ever. Yes, they were successful with Barnes, but the success waned when Barnes left, though his recruits and his associate coach stayed. Purnell is building a program by steadily improving, rather than making quick leaps.

Such Incremental Growth will seem like large leaps and bounds when we move successfully in the ACC and make it to the NCAA tourney- an event I refuse to call a dance. Gary Parrish of cbsportsline seems to agree. However, he thinks our perfect run is about to end with GT.

A crazy prediction (but it might happen anyway): Clemson has been phenomenal in winning its first 15 games, including Wednesday's last-second victory at Florida State. The No. 23 Tigers are a serious team, they deserve to be nationally ranked and they'll make the NCAA Tournament. That said, don't be shocked if the first loss comes Saturday when Georgia Tech visits Littlejohn Coliseum. The Yellow Jackets have forever been a talented bunch, but most of the talent is young, and that caused problems early. But now the freshmen are maturing, particularly Thaddeus Young and Javaris Crittenton, the latter of whom has an amazing 27 assists compared to just one turnover in the past three games. Keep that kind of ratio going, and Georgia Tech can earn an upset.

Parrish does not reference the suspension of Lewis Clinch, GT's third leading scorer, so I do not know if he had the benefit of such knowledge or if he chose to ignore it.

Regardless, the game is critical, crucial, and absolutely an essential. The requisite nature of this win stems not from the 15-0 record of the Tigers, but from the necessity of taking care of home court. If Clemson hopes to do anything, in the ACC and beyond, they MUST win at home.

Game preview to come. Now, look toward the Future: Saturday @ 4pm. DVR-time!!

Go Tigers!!!

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