Tuesday, February 3

Clemson Takes on Duke Tomorrow in Littlejohn

OP and the Tigers will be looking to b-slap Coach K and Duke Tomorrow night (from clemsontigers.cstv.com)

When: 9:00pm
Where: Littlejohn Coliseum, Clemson, SC
Watch: ESPN
Listen: WCCP
Follow: SCACCHoops

Per the history of this matchup, Duke has won alot, while Clemson has not, dating back to 1926:

Overall: Duke leads 100-28
at Clemson: Duke leads 36-20
at Littlejohn: Duke leads 22-16
at Duke: Duke leads 56-4
at Neutral: Duke leads 8-4
First Meeting: Duke, 46-12 in 1925-26

However, the Tigers won the last meeting in the ACC tournament- beware the ides of March.

As this is the only scheduled meeting between the Tigers and Duke, expect a tough, defensive-minded game, especially after Duke's breakdown against Wake- and subsequent drubbing of Virginia. After the loss to Wake, prior to the Virginia game, Coach K held a tough practice.

"Friday was all defense," Krzyzewski said. "It wasn't like animal drills, where you're making up drills for toughness. It wasn't that kind of practice, but it was a real hard man-to-man defensive practice."

Duke gathered as much wind into their bag as they could with the Virginia win. And now, they are set to arrive in Tigertown with a supposedly renewed focus. They will be playing pressure defense, the same that lead to blowout win. However, Duke will have to try to contain more than just Sylven Landesberg tomorrow.

KC is coming of one of his strongest performances this season. He hitting his shots and lead the team, as a senior leader should. This was a big change from the previous games. But, not only has KC changed in his four years at Clemson, he notes, “It’s a lot different than what it used to be when I first got here,” Rivers said of the students. “It was definitely a lot different. The atmosphere and the buzz around campus is a lot different than what it used to be, and I definitely expect the same type of atmosphere, maybe even greater.”

OP reflects on the changes in the ACC, the Duke game, and the toughness of the league while Coach K- without naming names, says, "One of the things about our league is the pride the the different fans have at each school. That and the campus sites (for homecourts) create more parity."

This wasn't always the case. (see record above)

Per the offense and what the Tigers might face, here is a graphic from the Raleigh News and Observer.

So, look for set screens on offense, and man-to-man on defense. Right now, Clemson matches up better with Duke than either Wake or UNC. While Duke has some potential problems in the PG position- Nolan Smith/Greg Paulus, Singler and Henderson pose a tough test for the Tigers. Potter will have to stay out of foul trouble against Henderson. Likewise, Sykes and Grant are going to have to step up against Singler. And, of course, whoever TO matches up against it will be a defensive advantage for Duke, whether it is Scheyer or someone else.

The game will probably be decided on the inside. Booker has the edge inside. Yet, we are going to have to rebound as a team if we plan on winning. Thus, we should move the game inside instead of relying on the perimeter- where Duke has a strong defense. KC is going to have to move both inside and outside. If he hits some outside shots, we might be able to open up the inside a little more. If we play inside, we have to hit our FTs and have solid rebounding.

All of these things, I am sure, both OP and Coach K know. We have seen what is possible with the Tigers. Now it is time to go past that, past the impossible, to the possimpible.

It won't be easy. And while this is a different Duke team than last year's- we are as well.

Like last year, we might need to get on Booker's shoulders and move it inside.

Go Tigers!

postscript: no Dickie Vitale for tomorrow's game.

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