|by David Hood|
However, Clemson head coach Brad Brownell said Tuesday that he thinks his team hasn’t given up on the season, and might surprise some people in the tournament. The Tigers, likely out of any postseason play barring a miracle run in the tournament, take on Florida State in the 9 p.m. Thursday night in the opening round of the ACC Tournament in Greensboro, N.C.
Brownell said his team has had some heartbreaking close losses in the past month, but points to Saturday’s loss at regular season champion Miami as evidence that his team hasn’t given up.
“I don’t know if the schedule has gotten difficult at times. Our home games have come against really hard teams – teams that are playing well and you maybe have to play a little bit better and we haven’t been able to close it,” Brownell said during his press conference Tuesday. “If our guys hadn’t of fought as hard as they have, I could understand where somebody could say they’ve given in. But we just played the first-place team in the league, who are playing to win the league.
He then said that this has been the most challenging season of his 13 years as a head coach as the staff tries to figure out which lineup combination will work on any given night, especially on a team without a proven scorer.
“You’re constantly figuring out who’s playing well,” Brownell said. “Do we need to play faster? Do we need to play slower? Do we need to run more sets? Do we need to let them go? You question everything,” Brownell said. “Some coaches may get up here and say ‘We are just doing it the way we do it and that is the way we do it.’ I just haven’t been able to figure it out with this group.”
Brownell said he was proud of his team despite the sudden downturn over the last month.
“I’m not ashamed with the way this team has competed,” Brownell said. “We just have not been good enough and I have not been able to find a way to help them win and that’s on me.”
David Hood can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org