Under former coach Oliver Purnell, Clemson had one of the toughest home courts and one of the toughest styles of play to go up against in the ACC. Their constant full court press created hectic games and give their fans plenty of highlight reel plays to get excited about. While Clemson would rip off 15 and 16 unbeaten non-conference games, they weren’t able to maintain the consistency to contend for the ACC Championship. Now comes coach Brad Brownell’s fourth season at Clemson, which should mean higher expectations at LittleJohn Coliseum. However, the Tigers are looking to replace two of their top three scorers from last season and attempting to do so with a tough ACC slate.
Devin Booker 13.1 ppg 7.5 rpg
Milton Jennings 10.2 ppg 6.4 rpg 1.9 apg
K.J. McDaniels 10.9 ppg 5.0 rpg 0.8 apg 43% FG 33.3% 3PT
Jordan Roper 7.9 ppg 1.3 rpg 0.9 apg 38.4% FG 41.4% 3PT
Adonis Filer 6.3 ppg 2.3 rpg 1.5 apg 37% FG 31.3% 3PT
Patrick Rooks – 3* SG
Austin Ajukwa – 2* SF
Sidy Mohamad – 3* PF
Ibrahim Djambo – JUCO PF 17.7 ppg 9.2 rpg 44.6% FG
With a tough ACC schedule, Clemson went with a lighter non-conference slate to prepare them. There are still challenges for the Tigers as they play true road games at Auburn and at Arkansas, but those are manageable games considering how much is returning for Clemson. They will face a solid Charleston Classic field that includes Temple, Georgia, Nebraska, and New Mexico, which will give them a chance to pick up momentum building non-conference wins.
Starting off ACC play at Boston College, Florida State, and Duke is no easy task for even the most veteran of teams. But home games against Wake Forest, Virginia Tech, Georgia Tech, and Miami should give Clemson some wins to separate themselves from the bottom of the league. Unfortunately they find themselves with two big road trips, one that includes three straight road games against Pittsburgh, North Carolina, and Florida State, and the other is at Syracuse then at Notre Dame. Stealing one or two of these games would be huge for Clemson, but the likely reality is that they drop all of those games.
Prediction: (4-14) – 13th Place
For as much as Clemson has coming back this season, I don’t see how they will be able to compete with the upper half of the league. The ACC did them no favors by scheduling 5 of 6 middle schedule games on the road. That stretch will tell a lot about who Clemson is. Will they be veteran enough to not allow this stretch to derail their season? Are they good enough to sneak up on someone and steal a game or two? With the weak non-conference slate and tough three games to open up ACC play, we won’t know who Clemson really is until January 15 when they goto Virginia Tech.