By Trey McCurry.
Junior guard Tanner Smith met with the media Monday to talk about Michigan and what he thinks about the season so far.
“Michigan is very smart offensively and they make you think on defense,” said #5. “They will come out and throw us off balance so we need to be ready for pretty much anything. They know how to win. They are a confident team with guys that fit their system. We have to be ready to take away the things they want to do. We have to be ready to think and not just play.”
“This is one of those first games you notice as you go through the schedule. The last two years we have played Illinois, but anytime you can play a team with Michigan’s reputation it is an honor. We need to take that very seriously and take that out on the court. We need to take care of business, both for the ACC and ourselves. If we go in and play well against what most people think is one of the best conferences in the country, I think it says a lot about us.”
The Michigan game is the start of a tough stretch for the Tigers and Smith talked about that some with reporters. “You can’t look too far ahead with Michigan up next, but the upcoming road games will tell us a lot before Christmas. We were tested in the Virgin Islands, but now we are back home with a national stage so we will see a lot Tuesday.”
Another thing Smith talked about was the new offense and system Clemson is using this year under first-year head Coach Brad Brownell. “It was a big change, but I think guys have really embraced it. You are able to see we have multiple guys that can score 15 a night. It helps with this offense that it can be a big guy, guard, or wing go for 15. One thing we need to do better is rebounding. We need to keep working the ball inside/out. We need to reward our big guys with the ball for getting us open with screens and look for them on the break. We can do a lot of things better than we have the first few games. I think right now we are where I thought we would be.”
With the team sitting at 5-1, Smith spoke on the team’s confidence leading into the matchup with the Wolverines. “It is very confident team. We played pretty well in the Virgin Islands, but could have played better. We came back and looked ahead some to Michigan. We had a good practice yesterday. I think we are ready to go and get this bulk of the season started. These next three games are really big for us. A great way to get that started is with a big win tomorrow night.”
Tomorrow night’s game, on ESPN2 at 9:00PM, gives Clemson the chance to start that stretch with a big win on a national stage and give them some momentum heading into next’s Sunday’s game at South Carolina.