Tigers Turn Focus Towards Tourney Time
Clemson suffered a disappointing loss to Georgia Tech this past Saturday, mainly due to a horrid performance from the free throw line. The initial fan reaction would be to say that they need to shoot a million free throws to get ready for the ACC Tournament. That will not be the case, this late in the season you will not fix a player's inability to shoot free throws. Past history tells us that. The Tigers need to be mentally prepared to face the #8 seed Maryland Terrapins.
If it hasn't started already, the national media will begin to say all the reasons why Clemson will not win on Thursday.
First, Clemson swept Maryland during the regular season. Maryland is too talented for Clemson to beat three times in a row. For those who believe Maryland is too talented for Clemson, I encourage you to go back and watch the film of the first two games. Clemson was able to attack Maryland's press, and spread them out to perfection in the half-court offense.
Secondly, Maryland needs one win to get into the NCAA tournament. Maryland has not shown any sense of urgency to this point. If Gary Williams has not been able to hammer it home by now, he may not be able to. The Terps could have controlled their own destiny with a win in Blacksburg last Saturday. The final point is one of concern.
Lastly, Maryland is the defending ACC Tournament Champions. Jon Gilchrist put on one the most remarkable performances we have seen in quite some time last year in the ACC Tournament. Gilchrist lives for the big stage, and his teammates feed off of that energy. Vernon Hamilton will be asked once again to step up the defensive pressure.
This should be an exciting week for Clemson fans. For the first time in quite some time, the team comes into the tournament playing well. Also, a win could mean another home game for the Tigers in the NIT.