The Wolfpack men’s hoops squad travels tomorrow to play Clemson in its first conference game of the year, and they will not only have to deal with the 15-0 and 12th ranked Tigers, they’ll have to deal with a full house of Clemson fans in Littlejohn:
Looks like Clemson’s 15-0 start has fans excited about basketball.
The school’s ticket office said Thursday that Clemson’s game against North Carolina State on Saturday is a sellout.
The Tigers have a plethora of riches in their backcourt, which is one of the Wolfpack’s primary weaknesses. Clemson’s defensive pressure has carried the Tigers while their offense has not firing on all cylinders:
[T]he 12th-ranked Tigers did just that Tuesday night against Alabama, shooting a season-low 39.7 percent as a team. But Clemson managed to scratch out a 66-59 victory over the Crimson Tide, thanks to a late-game run fueled by relentless defensive pressure.
“Our defense really picks us up,” sophomore guard Terrence Oglesby said. “That’s one thing we can always rely on. Shots sometimes aren’t going to fall, but we know that our effort on defense is going to be there.”
The combination of the strength of Clemson’s backcourt, ability to press for 94 feet, and overall defense creates an extremely difficult match-up for this Wolfpack team.
Clemson has a couple of wins against SEC teams (and the Wolfpack is 0-1 after the Florida loss) including a recent win against Alabama. Not suprisingly, given the Tigers’ fans devotion to their football team, some looked at the win against the Crimson Tide hoops team as a bit of revenge for the savaging that the gridiron version of Alabama gave Clemson early in the football season:
With North Carolina State coming to town Saturday and unbeaten Wake Forest making a trip to the Upstate Jan. 17, topping Alabama was the perfect way to end one chapter of the 2008-09 season and begin another.
And don’t underestimate the importance of this one.
The outcome of the schools’ football game was the beginning of the end of Tommy Bowden’s tenure as coach and proved to everyone the Tigers’ were not a Top 10 team.
Finally, some excerpts from the official Clemson game notes:
- The Tigers moved up to #11 in the ESPN/USA Today coaches’ poll and #12 by AP on January 5. It is Clemson’s highest ranking in either poll since Nov. 16, 1997 when Clemson was ranked fifth in the AP poll and seven in USA Today.
- Clemson has won 15 consecutive home games, its longest home winning streak since the Tigers won a school record 29 in a row in the Elden Campbell and Dale Davis era (1989-90).
- Clemson has gone over a year without a loss at home. The last home loss was the Charlotte on Jan. 9, 2008, an 82-72 49ers win.
- Clemson’s home winning streak ranks fifth best in the nation entering this weekend. Notre Dame has the longest with 44 in a row, while Kansas is at 33, Davidson 24, and Arkansas 17. Notre Dame and Arkansas have home games on Saturday.
- Clemson is the only school in the nation with a home winning streak and a road winning that ranks in the top 10 among active streaks. Clemson has won four straight on opponent’s home courts, tied for sixth best in the nation. Clemson’s next road game is January 21 at North Carolina.
Needless to say, this game will be a major test for NC State and a quality road win if the Pack can pull out a win.