Tigers not looking past struggling Pitt
|Wednesday, February 27, 2019, 12:07 PM- -|
The Clemson Tigers will travel to Pittsburgh on Wednesday for a key ACC matchup. Clemson is currently slated as one of the last four in by ESPN’s Bracketology.
It would be easy for the Tigers to look ahead to potential resume-building games against North Carolina (Sat. 6 pm) and Syracuse (March 9, 12 pm) but Head Coach Brad Brownell says his team is focused.
"You don’t have to be a senior not to pay attention (to postseason projections),” Brownell said about having a senior-laden team.
Pittsburgh is 2-12 in the ACC and has lost ten conference games in a row, but they have not lost by double digits since losing to Clemson 82-69 on January 29. Pittsburgh’s Xavier Johnson, a freshman guard, scored 30 in the January matchup and will be a key to this matchup as well.
Three of the top five scores for the Panthers are freshmen, but according to Coach Brownell, “They are not typical freshman who aren’t ready for physicality and pace of the league.”
Pittsburgh’s only two ACC wins have come at home against teams in the top half of the ACC standing. The Panthers defeated Louisville 89-86 on January 9 and just five days later defeated Florida State 75-62. Pitt plays very hard and with lots of pressure and Brownell knows the Tigers will have to play well with that pressure to win the game.
Brownell is focused on Pittsburgh and is making sure his team focuses on the little things which may have caused the Tigers to lose a few close ACC games.
“We haven't been quite good to win some of them, we lost a lot of road games where we didn’t finish a play, didn’t make free throws, got a shot blocked at the rim,” Brownell said. “A couple plays separate sixteen wins from nineteen wins. Those plays take a team from a good season to a great season.”
Clemson has four regular-season games left before ACC Tournament play begins on March 12 at the Spectrum Center in Charlotte, NC. Selection Sunday is March 17, and until then, Brownell says, Clemson will be focused on playing their best basketball.
He went on to say, “What should matter to you is trying to play your best, being focused on preparing and putting yourself in the right mindset and as an older player making sure those younger guys are in that position as well.”