Thursday, March 3

Clemson Basketball, it all comes down to the final game

So I watched the ESPN recap just now of last night's game against Duke after being at the game last night in the Rat's nest, the belly of the whale, or whatever.
Even the the title of the link, "Duke Cruises past Clemson" seems misleading. Duke did no cruising, not even of any kind.

It was a hard-fought game. It was an ugly game. It was a game the Tigers could have- might even should have- won.

There were many bad calls on the Tigers. Many.

But, there were also many bad shots by the Tigers. Many. If they could have hit some of the easy around the basket types of put backs, lay-ups and the like, the game would have been even closer. This is one game in which the final score is not indicative of the type of game it was in Cameron last night.

It was hot- literally, and figuratively. Coach K was throwing chairs, cursing refs. Stitt was jawing at Smith. It looked like Stitt was about to lose his cool at one point even. He was, after all, playing with strep throat legs. It showed at times. His follow throughs were short. His energy level seemed low.

But then, the fire turned on. They were playing, and pushing all cylinder. It was toughness. Stitt played with a drive, that if he and the rest of the team could muster throughout, then the our overall record might be different. It was refreshing to see such fire. He played hard and tough. The entire team played tough.

They really had no business winning or even competing in Cameron on senior night. Still Clemson with just 9 scholarship players took the defending champions nearly to the wire. And that has been the story all season. If the team could just keep that intensity and fire burning, then they would not just be competing with Duke, UNC, whoever, but would have actually beaten them- even if it was on their senior night.

Not until the late 1st half, to the mid-2nd half did the Tigers have enough energy. Their tanks seems nearly empty for much of the game as well, as a long scoring drought kept Clemson from ever being able to successfully overcome the 8 point mountain.

But now, all of that is in the past.

The eked out win over Miami, the sluggish Wake home win, the amateur-hour officiating at Duke, the ugly loss at NCSU- over.

It is now down to one game for ACCT seeding. With a win, the Tigers can claim 4th in the ACC and a first round bye. They can be anywhere between 4 and 7, similar to the logjam last year.

Here are the scenarios:
The Tigers will be the No. 4 seed with a win
The Tigers will be the No. 5 seed with a loss AND a Boston College loss AND a Maryland loss
The Tigers will be the No. 6 seed with a loss AND a Boston College loss AND a Maryland win
The Tigers will be the No. 6 seed with a loss AND a Boston College win AND a Maryland loss
The Tigers will be the No. 7 seed with a loss AND a Boston College win AND a Maryland win
There has been a steep learning curve for the Tigers this year.
They have played with only NINE scholarship players, an ex- walk-on, and a football player. This is a solid, all around team performance this year. 
Let's hope the season isn't over just quite yet.
Go Tigers.

No comments: