Archive for the ‘Basketball’ Category

So Far, No Good

Posted: April 9, 2010 by El Swann in Basketball, Clemson

As far as I can tell the coaching search at Clemson doesn’t seem to be a high priority. Look, Terry Don is out there looking, but he is looking in all the wrong places. I thought it was bad when Al Skinner’s name was mentioned, but add to that the likes of Herb Sendek and this thing is beginning to be a joke. Clemson basketball will not be respected if you name either of these two, or anyone else with their lack of coaching skill to the head spot.

I understand that Clemson isn’t the most appealing basketball job in the Atlantic Coast Conference, but this is supposed to be a national search. Clemson should be a university that is willing to step up financially and get coach who can take our program to the next level. Sadly, that is not the case.

If all the names that have come out as being interviewed are correct, we might as well destroy Littlejohn and rebuild it and the program from the ground up. I hate that it appears so little is being done to make our program better. It’s going to be a tough sell if you have to rely on the scraps from other schools.

Clemson needs to take a top level coach from a top level school and pay the money to get it done. I assure you that if we don’t make a big hire the fan support will dwindle. At this hour, in my opinion, the Clemson University Athletic Director doesn’t appear to be interviewing coaches who can build on Oliver Purnell’s foundation. Isn’t that what we were told would happen a few days ago?

I challenge the Athletic Department and Clemson University to put their money where their mouth is. Clemson fans deserve to have a respectable basketball program. Oliver Purnell had us on the cusp of being a solid team year in and year out. We need a coach who can take it to the next level. Clemson should be a program that can challenge for the ACC title and compete in the NCAA tournament.

So far, the interview list is no good.

Clemson’s Purnell Bolts for DePaul

Posted: April 6, 2010 by El Swann in Basketball, Clemson, Predictions

It’s being reported this morning that Oliver Purnell will take the DePaul job later this afternoon. A press conference has been set up for 2:30 EST. It’s reported that DePaul is going to pay Purnell $15 million over 7 years and pay is buyout at Clemson.

This one is a tough one to swallow. I am a little surprised at Coach Purnell leaving. I know it’s difficult to be successful at Clemson, but Purnell was doing it the right way. Purnell took Clemson to three straight NCAA tournaments and was establishing Clemson as a mid to upper level ACC basketball team.

You could argue that Clemson has been more dedicated to basketball during the Purnell era than any other time in history. It doesn’t sound right saying that, “Purnell is leaving to go to DePaul.” For a moment I thought it was a late April Fool’s joke. The only thing I can figure is that Purnell felt he had reached the limit of what he could do at Clemson.

I guess those Clemson fans who but so much heat on Purnell for not winning an NCAA game got what they wanted. I wonder how those people really feel today given our basketball history and Purnell’s overall success. I for one, am not excited about having to look for a new coach. The best news is that the cupboard isn’t bare, but you never know. Players could decide to leave and this program could crash to the bottom of the ACC.

In my opinion, it’s time for Clemson to open up the checkbook and make an offer to a big name coach. The popular choice will be Brad Stevens, who just led Butler to the National Championship game. You can’t really argue with his history and as a game day coach he appeared excellent. I doubt that happens, but he will be on everyone’s radar after this year’s NCAA run.

My instant short list of coaches:

Brad Stevens (Butler) – Born in Greenville, SC Greenville Stands Behind Stevens

Johnny Dawkins (Stanford) – Ties to the ACC, Duke lineage

Ben Jacobson (Northern Iowa) – An unreal run in the NCAAs, looks the part, great game day coach

Shaka Smart (VCU) – Former Clemson assistant, great recruiter, fits recent hiring trend

Broken Glass Everywhere

Posted: March 29, 2010 by El Swann in Basketball

For some reason, I started thinking about shattered backboards and decided to compile a number of them in a post. I found a number of them that I remember and one of Micheal Jordan that I had never seen. I can’t get enough of these especially the ones that took place during live games.

Did Clemson Win by Losing?

Posted: March 7, 2010 by El Swann in ACC Tournament, Basketball, Clemson, Predictions

It’s possible that losing at Wake Forest will actually help Clemson in the ACC Tournament. As nice as the bye would have been, falling to the sixth seed might work out better for the Tigers after it’s all said and done. Instead resting Thursday and then most likely facing Wake Forest on Friday, Clemson will open with N.C. State and, if they win, will get to play Florida State in round two.

Plus both games are 9:00 tipoffs which should give Clemson ample time to recover. Remember the old days where the last game winner played in the first game on Friday? Talk about tired legs.

Recently, the Wolfpack have been playing well, winning three out of four, but Clemson has matchup advantages all over the court. N.C. State probably scares me less than any other team in the league.

These two went to the wire in a 73-70 Clemson win in January, but Clemson didn’t play their best game. I would expect the Tigers to win this game by at least ten points on a neutral floor. Clemson is the superior ball club and should show it on Thursday evening.

If that happens, Clemson would try to move to 3-0 against Florida State. Although it’s always tough to beat someone three times in one season, I like Clemson’s chances to get to the semifinals better in this scenario than if they had to face Wake Forest in round two, even with a bye. Give me FSU over Al-Farouq Aminu and Ish Smith any day of the week.

No matter what, the best draw was not being on Duke’s side of the bracket. I think Clemson has has good a chance as any on their side. I could see a nice run by Clemson getting them into the semi-finals or finals. It’s obvious the ACC is a very balanced league. Clemson’s drop in the last game of the season, falling from #3 to #6 says it all.

Also, don’t count out North Carolina. The Tarheels could easily make a run at the championship game this year. They have a good opening draw against Georgia Tech and even at the 10 seed have to be considered a threat. They have played awful this year, but they have the talent. If it clicks this weekend, the hated Tarheels could shock the Atlantic Coast Conference.

With all that said here are my predictions on how the ACC Tournament will play out.

Round 1

#9 Virgina over #8 Boston College

#5 Wake Forest over #12 Miami

#10 North Carolina over #7 Georgia Tech

#6 Clemson over #11 N.C. State

Round 2

#1 Duke over #9 Virginia

#5 Wake Forest over #4 Virginia Tech

#2 Maryand over #10 North Carolina

#6 Clemson over #3 Florida State

Semi-finals

#1 Duke over #5 Wake Forest

#6 Clemson over #2 Maryland

Championship

#1 Duke over #6 Clemson

Yep, I’m going to put it out there right now. Clemson makes a run in the ACC Tournament and falls short, under tired legs, in a tough loss to the Blue Devils in the ACC Championship Game. I’ve struggled all year to be confident in this team, but their draw looks good to me. I guess we will see how it all plays out.

On to the ACC and NCAA Tournaments!

Don’t you just love this time of the year?

I was listening to the radio the other day and heard a show talking about the combined SEC football and SEC basketball wins over the last five seasons. I was a bit surprised to find out that South Carolina ranked #11 overall in the SEC. Even when you factor in baseball the Gamecocks only move up to #9.

Hearing that, I thought it would be interesting to check out how the ACC fares as well. So I put the numbers together and ranked the teams based on the total number of wins. These numbers should be correct as of the time and date this was posted.

Where would you expect Clemson to finish in the ACC? I guess most of you would expect to find Clemson around #5 or #6 in combined sports. Read on to find out how the Tigers have done in recent seasons.

It’s pretty interesting how it all boils down. I didn’t take the liberty to add baseball, but I will try to put that together in the next few days.

Football Wins (2009-2005)

#1 Virginia Tech- 52

#2 Boston College – 44

#3 Georgia Tech – 43

#4 Clemson – 41

#5 Florida State

#6 (tie) Miami – 37

#6 (tie) Wake Forest -37

#8 Maryland – 30

#9 Virginia – 29

#10 North Carolina – 28

#11 North Carolina State – 26

#12 Duke – 11

Basketball Wins (2009-2005)

#1 Duke – 130

#2 North Carolina – 124

#3 Clemson – 105

#4 Florida State – 102

#5 Maryland – 100

#6 Boston College – 95

#7 Virginia Tech – 93

#8 Wake Forest – 91

#9 (tie) Miami – 85

#9 (tie) North Carolina State – 85

#11 Georgia Tech – 76

#12 Virginia – 74

Total Football and Basketball Wins (2009-2005)

#1 North Carolina – 152

#2 Clemson – 146

#3 Virginia Tech – 145

#4 Duke – 141

#5 Florida State – 140

#6 Boston College – 139

#7 Maryland – 130

#8 Wake Forest – 128

#9 Miami – 122

#10 Georgia Tech – 119

#11 North Carolina State – 111

#12 Virginia – 103

What’s your take on this information? I am proud of both Clemson programs, but until we win an ACC Championship in either sport these wins aren’t worth very much.

Listen to this week’s show @ http://www.clemsonpodcasts.com

I’ve Been Wrong Before, Glad I Was Again

Posted: February 13, 2010 by El Swann in Basketball, Clemson
Tags: ,

Sure, I will openly admit that I missed it big time. I thought the Tigers were packing it in. Even though last week’s prediction of 6-10 in ACC play is still possible, Purnell’s Tigers proved me wrong, and I am happy about it.

After the mid season slump, or as most might call it “typical Clemson basketball”, the Tigers rebounded and have won two straight and are back above .500 in conference. A welcomed change.

I was shocked at how easily Clemson pulled away from Florida State (77-67) and then how well they responded against Miami (74-66) after the Hurricanes made multiple runs during Saturday’s contest.

After reviewing both games, I don’t think it’s strictly poor shooting that has hampered the Tigers. No matter how large a lead Clemson can gather during the game, they appear destined to have multiple stretches of five or more minutes without a bucket. It comes down to execution on offense.

There are too many possessions given away with bad mistakes. It didn’t happen all that much in the past two games, but it’s still there. A prime example came during the beginning of the Florida State game. Clemson managed to only score nine points while holding FSU scoreless the first 4:40 of the contest. Instead of putting themselves in a commanding position, Clemson didn’t score again until it was a 9-8 ballgame some three minutes later. The top teams in the country rarely have those slumps, I see them too frequently with this Clemson team.

In the end, after going 2-0 this week, you have to like where the Tigers are sitting as compared to last week. Now Clemson gets to rest up for a good Virginia team. Those two square off on next Saturday and the Tigers get to rest but UVA has to play 3 games before then.

Virgina plays tonight, Monday, and Wednesday due to a postponed game against Maryland. I think their tired legs might be enough for Clemson to get to 7-5 before leaving the friendly confines of Littlejohn Colosseum.

I don’t know that this team has enough to make a big NCAA run, but I now think they can make it there. If the outside shooting can continue around the 42% mark that the Tigers shot against Miami they will be pretty tough to beat? If not, please see previous post.

Face It, This Team is Finished

Posted: February 10, 2010 by El Swann in Basketball, Clemson

I have never been one to throw in the towel, but after watching this basketball team the past few weeks it’s hard to see this season ending on a positive note. I can only hope that I get to eat my words and that you all will hold me to it. But I would suggest getting those NIT plans together because the NCAA tournament isn’t happening.

First of all, as I mentioned on this week’s Clemson Hotline, I don’t see the passion from the coaching staff that one would expect at this point in the year. Heck, Larry Shyatt picked up technical fouls when he thought we were getting shafted. I’m not saying that Oliver Purnell doesn’t care, but where is his fire right now? This team is in a tailspin and I want to see Coach Purnell getting hot!

I have seen poor officiating all year and I don’t recall one single technical being called on Oliver Purnell. Do I want my coach to be a loose canon? No. Do I want him to get in the refs face when there are obvious mistakes? Yeah! Who wouldn’t. I expected Oliver to get one to show the team he was ticked off at Virginia Tech, but it never came. I was as frustrated with the coaching staff as I have been in his career.

Secondly, we can’t shoot. Losing Rivers and Oglesby was certain to hurt us, but when people thought David Potter would be their replacement, I knew we were in trouble. Potter has his flashes, but most of the time he is a deer in the headlights. I don’t think he possesses the killer instinct necessary to knock down big shots.

Sadly, we don’t have a single guy on the roster who has the ability to hit important shots, or for that matter, to create their own shot at any point during the game. Andre Young is a nice option, but he is too small and can’t create a mid-range opportunities because of his size. Eventually, the guy who could do it is Noel Johnson, but he is still too young and inexperienced. If Johnson gets confident, he could be amazing. The kid can flat out stroke the basketball. I see a ton of upside, but this season’s time is running out.

On the flipside, since we can’t shoot, we can’t press. The press has been a staple of Oliver Purnell coached teams. If you are not hitting shots or getting fast break buckets, you are not able to set up the press. When we can’t set the press, we don’t get easy points, and our shooting percentage sinks. It’s a sad but true cycle.

Lastly, look at the half court offensive sets. Is there a team in the ACC that runs their offense any worse than we do? Can you identify what we are trying to do in the half court? I’ve compared it to bad square dancing. No one seems to know where they are supposed to be or what they are supposed to be doing. I hate to be harsh, but it ‘s tough to watch. We have guys who should be slashers standing around the perimeter with no cuts or screens. I’m not an offensive expert, but I can spot poor execution.

I fully expect Florida State to come in to Littlejohn tonight and cruise to victory. I think the Seminoles win it by 15 points or so and here’s why.

They will be more aggressive, control the tempo and more importantly the paint. It’s easy to see that if you eliminate Trevor Booker you will beat the Clemson Tigers. Solomon Alabi will have one job on defense, hold down Booker and help out on Grant.

In addition to that, Clemson has played passively over the past few weeks and Florida State has seen it on film. I think they will attack Clemson early and hope for a quick knockout punch.

Take note of the attitude that Florida State plays with tonight. That’s how Clemson will need to play from now on if they want to save this season.  Right now, I’m banking on a 6-10 conference record. Until I see a change on the court, Clemson’s NCAA dreams are finished.

One Look Says It All

Posted: January 23, 2010 by El Swann in Basketball, Clemson

Looking at this graphic, it shouldn’t take you long to figure out why Clemson was unable to beat the Duke Blue Devils at home tonight. Outside of Trevor Booker, no one else showed up to play. Lots and lots of zeros in the shots made column for Clemson. One of the worst offensive games in Oliver Purnell’s history. Credit Duke though, those guys pressured and contested everything. They might be slow, but those guys hustle.

Clemson (15-5, 3-3) travels to Boston College on Tuesday for what has now become a must win for Clemson. The ACC is a league where it is tough to win on the road and Clemson can’t afford to give a winnable one away.

Expect to Win

Posted: January 14, 2010 by Doctor A in Basketball, Opinion

With almost twenty minutes before tip-off, there was no longer a seat in Littlejohn Coliseum. The students, many which had been camping since last week were restless. From the minute Trevor Booker and the Clemson Tigers stepped onto the court, it was total domination. However when Noel Johnson knocked down back to back threes the scoring frenzy was on. After a flurry of points, the Tigers were up 40 to 18 with 6:29 remaining in the first half.

Crowd noise and defensive pressure were obviously factors as the North Carolina team was rattled committing fifteen turnovers in the first half alone. As surprising as it may seem, I believe the second half was the most positive half of the game. The Tigers proved that even without the three point shot (0-11) they could still maintain the lead against the Tarheels by making all thirteen of their free throws in the second half. This game provides the spark that the Tigers needed in their season. I was slightly disappointed as I watched the students rush the court after the win. Folks, this is a new era in Tiger Basketball. Let’s expect to win on our home court!

In their first six ACC games, Clemson faces Duke twice and North Carolina once. If the Tigers can pick up some key road wins against NC State and Georgia Tech, they could have a shot at going 5-1 during the toughest stretch of their schedule as Duke enters home court on January 23. Clemson fans should expect the Tigers to show marked improvement when Duke rolls into town.

Look for the Tigers to continue to mix up the defensive pressure showing multiple different presses. If they can keep up the defensive intensity on the road this could be Purnell’s best season at Clemson.

Students should now expect to protect our home court, even against Duke and North Carolina. Like I said, “This is a new era.”

Big Dunk by Clemson’s Trevor Booker vs. UNC

Posted: January 13, 2010 by El Swann in Basketball, Clemson