By Will Vandervort.
By Will Vandervort
The last time Clemson beat Duke on the basketball court, it followed it up with a loss in the very next game. The time before that, it did the same thing.
In fact, you have to go back to January 11, 1997—a 76-70 win over Florida State—to find a Clemson victory following a win over the Blue Devils. It’s known as the Duke Hangover and it has affected just about every Atlantic Coast Conference team in the last 30 years.
The Tigers will try to be just the second team in the ACC in the last year to follow a victory over Duke with another when it travels to Blacksburg, Va., tonight to face the Virginia Tech Hokies.
“It was a great day and it was a great win for Clemson basketball. Obviously we are all excited, but we have more games ahead of us and we have to prepare the same way we do for Duke,” Clemson guard Jordan Roper said. “Mentally, it will be interesting to see if we can put it behind us, but I think we will be ready.”
Notre Dame thought it was ready after knocking off the Blue Devils at home on Jan. 4, but they followed it up with a seven-point loss at home to NC State. In the past year, ACC teams that have beaten Duke in the regular season are 1-4 in their next game. The lone exception was defending ACC Champion Miami.
“We just have to stay focused,” forward Jaron Blossomgame said.
Clemson head coach Brad Brownell tried to get the Tigers (11-4, 2-1 ACC) focused by first giving them Sunday off and then by bringing them into an early Monday morning meeting to discuss the game, watch film and turn the page. He did that by having a 45-minute conversation with his team.
“We just tried to put the Duke game to rest with some things we wanted to teach from the game,” Brownell said. “I wanted to make sure it was all done so we were still not talking about Duke on Monday afternoon. I just did not think that would be good for our team to be talking about Duke and going over clips about Duke and then start to practice for Virginia Tech.
“I wanted the afternoon to be all Virginia Tech and so that is the way we tried to handle it.”
They will find out tonight if it worked or not.
“We have had guys and people patting us on the back all week, but we just have to get focused and ready for Virginia Tech,” Blossomgame said.
Brownell is anxious to see if his early morning meeting worked. So far it has. The Tigers followed the Monday morning meeting with a good practice that afternoon and another one on Tuesday before they headed off to Blacksburg. Of course practice is practice and not a game.
“Sometimes with a younger team you worry about a sense of urgency,” he said. “That is always an issue with guys that are a little bit younger. Having said that, I hope we are really ready. We practiced pretty well, we met and we are set with a plan. Now you have to go out and execute, play, you have to make shots and you have to be aggressive.
“Hopefully the confidence that some of the guys gained from the Duke game will carry over and you will start to see good play consistently from several guys. We need consistency and that is what we are hoping to see from some of the guys after their good play against Duke.”