Friday, January 21

Tigers go streaking through Chapel Hill

I guess I thought if I ignored it long enough, it would go away.

0-55. That is unfathomable, except it is real.

Here is a breakdown from a UNC perspective

Read all about some of the things that have happened over the history of Clemson's abysmal Chapel Hill performances over at Block-C. Here are some highlights: 7 popes, 48 states, 15 presidents, the births of Paul Newman, Sammy Davis Jr, and Queen Elizabeth II.

The essence of the game is this: the basketball gods hate Clemson. I don't know the root of this; I need to find out. The pain is real and it is not just in Chapel Hill:

1. Sweet 16 2OT loss to a Minnesota team of which most of their players were ineligible; the next year, a 5-12 upset to W. Michigan.
2. TO's elbows the head of Michigan player, gets ejected, Clemson loses.
3. Start the season 17-0, do not make NCAA tournament.
4. After 17-0, make the NIT finals lose to WV- Tigers have never won a national tournament, lost in NIT final twice.

This is just recent history. The team, no matter the players or coaches, has something, including themselves, standing in the way of peak performances when they mean the most.

But for now, it is off to Maryland. This will not be an easy task. Maryland fans are notoriously, well Maryland fans, they make games difficult, regardless of how good their team is. So, there is that. And then there is Gary Williams.

On the Clemson side, Tanner Smith is out with a sprained knee, a much better outcome than what it looked like at the time. A relatively quick turnaround after the long break could help the Tigers, but they are still playing with a thin lineup. Brownell has been getting decent play out of some of the bench players and the seniors- until the UNC game. If Stitt and Grant return to form and we get decent guard play from Stanton, Anderson, and continued strong play from Jennings, the Tigers should have a chance in this game.

It will be a close game. Hopefully the players don't let Maryland fans intimidate them; their hostility is their intimidation, rather than the sheer magnitude of the game and history when playing at UNC, or Duke.

Again, this is a winnable game for the Tigers. It might also be a turning point- down a man, coming off a humiliating loss- how the team responds will demonstrate their character and resilience. Let's hope they answer the call. My early season prediction was an L, as this is an away game. If the Tigers can take/steal a win, it would skew my season predictions- on the W side, which is fine by me.

Go Tigers!

No comments: