The Tigers welcome Coach K and his Duke Blue Devils to town tonight for a matchup in Littlejohn Coliseum. They’ll be hoping to capitalize on the momentum from breaking the dreaded Chapel Hill curse last weekend.
How this team follows up one of the biggest wins in program history could go a long ways towards deciding how the rest of this season plays out. At 8-7 and just 2-3 in ACC play, Clemson could use a statement type win.
Duke comes in at 15-1 and ranked third in the country. Make no mistake, this is one of the better teams in college basketball, despite the league being down in general.
In the Tigers 79-76 overtime win over UNC, Clemson looked as good as they have in a long time over the final two minutes of regulation and in OT. They almost looked like world beaters to be quite honest.
However, in the games first 38 minutes, it was a completely different story. They had trailed throughout, and looked worse than a bad UNC team.
Which Clemson team shows up tonight? Will the win in Chapel Hill bring the fans come out? Will there be any carry over to the crowd in attendance tonight after the football teams loss to LSU?
One thing is certain. If Clemson comes out bricking one three ball after another, Duke could put this one away early. This isn’t the team you want to start slow against.
One thing going for Clemson is the fact that this is a young Duke team. When Littlejohn is full and the crowd is into it, it can be a tough place to play for visiting teams, so maybe the crowd can be a factor.
This is a Duke team that Clemson is capable of beating. Aamir Simms has to be the same guy we saw down the stretch at UNC, and he’s got to have help. He can’t do it alone.
The most ideal thing would be for Tevin Mack to bring it and, he and Simms get rolling at the same time, in the same game. They could make a formidable duo when both are playing well. Add John Newman into that too, as he needs to be hitting some buckets as well.
If Clemson can shoot well from the perimeter, their chances increase substantially. The Tigers have guys that can hit the three ball, but they’ve been streaky, having more off nights than on ones.
Curran Scott and Hunter Tyson are both guys that can get hot. Having one or both do so tonight could pay big dividends.
However, this one could come down to which team is more effective on the defensive end. Clemson has always been a defensive minded team under Brownell that prides itself on how they defend and Duke has been good on the defensive end this season, particularly of late.
Tipoff is a 7pm and ESPN will have the broadcast.