Friday, February 18

Tigers fall to 6-6

Maybe it was the full-moon effect.
Yeah, I'll take that.

Otherwise, there is no other explanation for the debacle in Raleigh last night.

The biggest difference between the NCSU game and the UNC game comes down to a few words.
Clemson played like they could win against UNC- less the opening minutes.
Clemson played like they should win against NCSU- they even seemed to expect it.

The loss, as painful as it was to watch, might be more damaging to the Tigers' NCAAT hopes than it was to my eyes.
Rebounding was poor (38 to their 46), shooting was poor (0-8 2nd half 3pt), energy level was poor.

I think that was the most disheartening thing about the game last night, the lack of energy and performance. I know Sidney Lowe blazer-red is not Carolina Blue, but every game is a must win, especially if they want(ed) to make it to the NCAAT.

The Tigers just didn't seem to have it in them last night. CJ Leslie did work on the defense all night long. The Tigers began attacking him, but they didn't follow through. When the Tigers made big defensive stops at the end of the game, they could not convert the points. It was ugly.

I am not saying the Tigers didn't want to win, nor am I questioning their desire. I just wonder if they came in over-confident.

This was a huge letdown. The game against UNC gave some hope that the Tigers can perform on a higher level, but the NCSU game showed that they can play down to the level of the opponent as well.

Jerai Grant had a much stronger performance than his, well, his absence against John Henson, but he still could not handle the inside like he needed to do. It is unacceptable that the starting forward/center only has 5 reb, the same number as the shooting guard who is literally a foot shorter than him.

And why, as much as it sort of pains me to say this, is Milton Jennings not starting.

Milton Jennings, Bright Spot (News and Observer)
While he is not playing super, he is definitely playing stronger than D. Booker at this point. He is starting to find the game and can keep up with the speed and pace much better than he did last year, or even earlier this year. In fact, Milton had a near double-double (10pts, 9reb) in just 20 minutes of action. Whereas, Booker had 4pts and 4reb in 27 minutes. What is the +/- on Jennings? the past few games?

I'm just out there playing Milton Ball; no one else wants to join coach. (News and Observer)

NCSU on the other hand, had career performances from Javi Gonzalez and CJ Leslie. The rest of their team played just strong enough to overcome the lowly shooting Tigers.

Sidney Lowe telling a Lorenzo Brown to get in his blazer. (News and Observer)
There is still hope for an NCAA tournament berth, but that hope is fading. If the Tigers cannot secure a marquee win before Selection Sunday, regardless of their record between now and then, they will be NIT-bound.

Time to run the table.

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