Clemson Desperate for Win With UNC Coming to Town

Over the years Clemson basketball fans have become accustomed to the fact that they just can’t have nice things. After all, it is Clemson basketball we are talking about, a perennial ACC doormat.

There have been years here and there in which the program has given fans a brief taste of exactly how much fun having success on the hardwood can be. Most recently was the Tigers run to the Sweet 16 just a few years back.

Outside of that one year, those kinds of seasons have been non-existent under current head coach Brad Brownell. We won’t get into the multitude of obstacles any basketball coach at Clemson has to face, that’s a discussion for another day, but Brownell, who has been at the helm for more than a decade now, looked to have his best team to date heading into the season.

The team got off to a sizzling 10-1 start and rose to No. 12 in the polls. And they built quite the impressive resume over that hot start. Due to Covid, the schedule was not full of smaller FCS schools the way it typically would be.

Then the Tigers were forced to pause all team activities. For eight days the team did not practice and when they came back from the extended break they looked like a team that had no legs in a blowout loss to Virginia.

However, the team has now been blown out in four of its past five games. For whatever reason, the Tigers have not looked anything close to the team that won ten of its first eleven games and we are way past pointing the finger at the unexpected time off. Something else is amiss here.

Guys suddenly can’t put the ball in the ocean, much less the basket. Sloppy play has become the norm and opponents are getting wide open looks that they were not getting before the pause.

What looked like a promising season in which an NCAA tournament berth looked like a certainty has now gone off the rails. The team is now suddenly 10-5 and one game under .500 in ACC play (4-5).

One year after breaking the winless streak in Chapel Hill, the Tigers now find themselves hosting North Carolina in what can almost assuredly be described as a must-win situation.

The Tarheels come in winners of three straight and are now sitting at 11-5 overall and 6-3 in league play. However, Roy Williams’ team is just 2-4 on the road, while Clemson is 6-1 at home.

This is not just another game on the schedule for the Tigers. This Clemson team must find a way to stop the bleeding, so to speak. If not, that hot start will have been wasted and the pressure on Brownell will start to amp up, and rightfully so.

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