|Monday, January 23, 2017, 9:22 AM- -|
I walked into the room, and my wife was curious. "Who won?" she asked.
"Virginia Tech, 82-81," I answered.
She will be the first to tell you that she knows nothing about basketball and she likes Brad Brownell because he is a very nice guy. However, her next observation sounded like a sports analysts. "It seems like Clemson basketball can't catch a break, and Clemson football gets every break. Why is that? Does that have anything to do with the head coach?"
I have said for years that I hold Clemson football and Clemson baseball to a much higher standard than Clemson basketball. I have also said recently that we have to change our mindset and expectations for Clemson basketball.
But something is missing from this team. I am not sure of the leadership. I saw some Sunday night, but at times it looks like it has lacked this season. Then again leadership is an intangible, and it is hard to identify from outside the program.
This team wore shirts Sunday night that said, "Clemson Grit." However, maybe that is something that is missing. Does this team grind out games? Is this a gritty team? Do they win the hustle points?
The hope was the transfers would lead a great offense, and this team would be a tournament team. What we didn't know was the defense would be atrocious. The perimeter defense leaves wide open shots. The interior defense gives up too many offensive rebounds and second-chance points.
To be fair, the ACC is the best it has been in years, and the Tigers' schedule has been extremely difficult. However, fans expected more because we were told this team was the most talented team of the Brownell era.
Free throws have improved, but crucial free throws are still missed.
The six-game losing streak has featured games that look very similar. The opponent shoots the ball very well. Clemson looks good at times on offense. The defense looks lost. The opponent outrebounds the Tigers. Clemson misses a crucial free throw. The body language looks bad. Clemson comes up just short. Home or away, the results look similar.
Clemson football wins the national championship on January 9 and Clemson baseball starts in mid-February. Until then Clemson basketball looks like the movie Groundhog Day.
The Brad Hughes All-State Insurance Agency
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