By Will Vandervort
Opportunity is knocking for the Clemson men’s basketball team this week. The Tigers, who are fresh off a two-point win at Boston College this past weekend, will host ACC rival Florida State Thursday and then No. 16 Duke on Saturday at Littlejohn Coliseum.
If Clemson (10-3, 1-0 ACC) can scratch out both victories it could be sitting at 3-0 in conference play by Saturday evening.
“I’m looking forward to it and to seeing where our players stack up right now and how our team looks against two of the better teams in our league,” Clemson head coach Brad Brownell said.
Brownell said on Wednesday that he was really proud of the way his team found a way to win at Boston College last Saturday despite the fact it was not pretty at the end of the game. He pointed out his team made several good runs in the second half, while answering several BC runs as well.
“The tendency is to always look at the bad things that happen at the end of the game and not all the good things, not only as coaches, but as fans,” Brownell said. “We have tried to make sure our guys realize that we did do a lot of good things in the Boston College game to give ourselves a lead which gave us an opportunity to make some mistakes down the stretch and still win.”
And that win—a rare conference road win—has the Tigers playing with confidence heading into Thursday night’s 7:05 tip against Florida State.
“I’m excited about this week and the opportunity that we have,” guard Jordan Roper said, “but we are definitely all focusing on Thursday and taking each game one game at a time.”
The only thing Clemson is not excited about is the quick turnaround between the two games. After the Florida State game, the Tigers will have less than 41 hours to prepare for the Blue Devils.
Clemson has to do that same turnaround two more times this year as well. On Feb. 9 the Tigers travel to Syracuse and then turnaround on Feb. 11 and play at Notre Dame. Then in March they close the regular season with three straight home games, including games against Maryland on March 2 and Miami on March 4.
Brownell says he isn’t a fan of playing two games in less than 48 hours and he definitely does not want to do it three times. However, he also understands there is nothing he can do about it, either.
“We obviously prefer to have the same amount of practice time (Duke is) going to have for us starting today,” he said. “But, we have to worry about another game and that is part of this kind of scheduling. It is going to happen to everybody at certain points.
“We have three of these where we have these 36- to 48-hour turnarounds and they are challenging. It’s part of the deal. Everybody goes through it. Again, that will be part of what we talk about after the game.”