By William Qualkinbush
That is the message from Head Coach Brad Brownell to the Clemson basketball team as it prepares to take the court again in the immediate aftermath of an ugly 54-41 loss at the hands of Florida State.
The Tigers will face 13th-ranked Duke at 2 p.m. on Saturday, which could be both a blessing and a curse. It helps because the caliber of opponent lends itself to a certain level of excitement in the locker room. It hurts because the staff has hardly any time whatsoever to prepare for an outstanding opponent.
“You certainly would like to have a little more time to prepare and put in a defensive gameplan and devise some things offensively to help you,” Brownell said. “But you can’t make as many changes in 36 hours. You kind of just have to go with what you’re doing and make one or two adjustments and go play.”
Brownell and his staff spent a long night in the office analyzing game tape and preparing to indoctrinate the team concerning the Blue Devils and how to attack them best. Having a single day between games—even when both are at home—creates some logistical issues for coaches and players alike.
Because of the immediacy of the next contest, Brownell does not plan on altering the gameplan a great deal in the meantime. The plan was not affected by Thursday night’s result, although Brownell knows the Tigers will have to play better in many ways in order to give an announced sellout crowd what it wants to see.
“When we start turning the ball over and having careless turnovers, then it becomes no fun for anybody,” Brownell said, referencing his team’s 18-turnover performance in Thursday’s game. “It’s not fun for us, it’s not fun for the players, it’s not fun for the fans.”
Even with a bunch of time to get ready, Duke is a hard team to match up with because of the skill present all over the floor. Stud freshman Jabari Parker, transfer wing Rodney Hood, facilitator extraordinaire Quinn Cook, and sharpshooter Andre Dawkins are all difficult to guard.
Matching the Blue Devils’ skill is a challenge on top of a challenge given the short span of preparation time available, but Brownell is not inclined to make excuses.
“We’ve got to come up with something quick and get committed to it,” he said. “We have to get our guys in a good frame of mind and go and compete.”
The team could get an emotional boost with a good start in front of what is supposed to be a quality crowd. In addition, the football team will be honored at halftime, which is sure to bring a new level of enthusiasm to the arena.
Either way, Brownell has no doubts about his team’s level of mental and emotional preparedness when the ball tips.
“Our guys will have energy,” Brownell said. “I think they’re talking about a sellout crowd. It’s an opportunity to play one of the premier programs in the country.”