Tigers hope to keep things going against tough non-conference schedule

Tigers hope to keep things going against tough non-conference schedule

Basketball

Tigers hope to keep things going against tough non-conference schedule

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Clemson plays Alabama today at 8 p.m.

Clemson hopes to keep its historic undefeated start going when it plays Alabama tonight as part of the Holiday Hoopsgiving at the State Farm Arena in Atlanta.

The Tigers have opened the 2020-‘21 season with four-straight wins, including three over Power 5 opponents for the first time since 1935-’36. Clemson is coming off an impressive 67-51 victory over Maryland in the ACC/Big Ten Challenge this past Wednesday.

Aamir Simms scored 16 points and grabbed seven rebounds to help lead the Tigers in the win.

“I was pleased with how well our kids were prepared mentally and then I thought our spirit and energy level was great,” Clemson head coach Brad Brownell said.

The Tigers (4-0) come into tonight’s game against Alabama leading the ACC and rank fourth nationally in scoring defense (50.2 points per game). They also rank second in the conference in field goal percentage defense (36.2 percent) and fourth in the league in turnover margin (7.2), which is 14th nationally.

After playing the Crimson Tide (3-1) tonight, Clemson will play at Virginia Tech next Wednesday and then at South Carolina a week from today, giving the program six games against Power 5 competition in its first seven games.

“It is hard. Yeah, it is a lot,” Brownell said. “We wanted to do that, and obviously, we had a couple of more guaranteed games and had the season started the way it was supposed to be we had some guaranteed games to kind of round into shape and kind of get a better feel for our team and personnel and some of that stuff and then we were going to try and slowly build into it.

“These next two weeks are really tough. I didn’t love the way the ACC/Big Ten (Challenge) got moved to today and now we have all these two-day games. That is asking a lot. I would have much preferred the ACC/Big Ten game to be last week. But it is what it is. We also got added the Virginia Tech game on the road next week, but that is just what we have to deal with, so we better be ready.”

Brownell said being so load at the beginning of the schedule will affect the Tigers’ practice time. He said they will basically have just one day to prepare in between games.

“We can do that and be effective,” he said. “Selfishly, I would have liked to have had a little more time, but at the same time we were definitely trying to play five or six high major games out of the seven we were playing when we found out about the new schedule.”

While Clemson will be playing its fourth Power Five opponent to start the new season, the Tigers will be Alabama’s second. The Crimson Tide has wins over Jacksonville State, UNLV and Providence, but their lone loss is to Stanford, its only Power 5 opponent to this point.

It is time to get ready for another great Clemson Christmas. The best collection of Clemson ornaments and other fine gifts are available at Clemson Variety & Frame

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