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Three Up, Three Down: Clemson

Well that was heartbreaking. I’m not down and out yet though, and I don’t think the team is either.

NCAA Basketball: Clemson at Wake Forest Jeremy Brevard-USA TODAY Sports

The Ups

The Return Of John Collins. 20 and 7, 9-13 shooting, 2-2 from the line. That’s good stuff. Even better, in the post-game interview, John showed exactly the right attitude. He didn’t care about the stats, he cared about the team and their performance, he cared about the final result.. He was introspective but also quietly confident, and if the message he was projecting is anything like what Coach Manning is expressing, that’s one thing he’s doing right.

Bryant Crawford From Deep. 4-6 from three point range for the sophomore point guard, and as I recall, nearly every one of those shots was smooth and in rhythm. “Hero ball” is a phrase I’ve been hearing a lot lately, but I don’t think this was an instance of that, at least not in BC’s case. Bryant only ended up 5-13 shooting on the night (the same as Keyshawn Woods) but there were very few bad shots in there from those two; the misses were mostly good attempts on good drives that were just even better defended.

Nearly Perfect From The Line. 10-11 from the line, for 90.9%. Even more cruelly, the one miss was the front end of a one and one in the midst of Clemson’s run from, of all people, Keyshawn Woods. Nearly everything had to go wrong in that stretch, and if that’s not an example, I don’t know what is.

The Downs

Turnovers, Turnovers, Turnovers. Wake coughed the ball up 16 times, and Clemson had 20 points off said turnovers. In a game where Wake led double digits inside of 10 minutes, that’s insanity. At that point, between time and score, there is no way Clemson could have afforded to trade points with the Deacs at that point. Come on, guys.

Shot Selection Late. Wake scored no baskets in the last approximately 5 minutes. There is no excuse for that, especially given how solid the offense was for the rest of the game. There were dunks, smooth threes, and crisp passes...until the last five minutes at which point the team each decided to individually attempt to win the game. It was brutal to watch.

Two Timeouts Unused. To me, this was the biggest coaching problem. How do you leave two timeouts in a game like that? I’m not claiming to be a coach, but come on. That just can’t happen. Call a timeout at some point in a game like that.

The Bottom Line

I get people being angry. I get people being discouraged. I get people saying we spoke too soon before starting conference play But this is not the Bzdelik Era, and I firmly believe the players and coaches alike are going to learn from this. One other thing I want to challenge a bit: I don’t challenge people questioning Coach Manning’s in-game adjustments, which are suspect at best lately, but I think Coach Manning is more than just a recruiter. I think he’s also done a pretty good job with player development so far which is another facet of coaching. For my money, there’s four major aspects of college coaching: recruiting, player development, play design and in-game adjustments. I think Coach Manning has proven to be at least good so far in all but the last. Our recruiting is on fire, the player development is good, and we know Coach can design plays, because when the offense is working, it’s beautiful. The unfortunate reality is that the last aspect is arguably one of the biggest as evidenced by these last two collapses, but I’m not abandoning ship just yet. Anyone’s free to disagree, but John Collins says they’re ready to rebound, and I for one am inclined to believe him. Let’s see what happens.

On to the next. Go Deacs.