26 January 2007


Why, Danny Ford?!?!? WHY?!?!?

Willy Mac: Well, unfortunately, I called it: "Winner: Duke by 3 or less." I'm not happy about it either. Yeah, I feel we got shafted on the seconds right there at the end, but it wasn't a large enough margin to be arguable in reality. This just shows your have to play until the clock says "0:00:00" and just till "0:00:01" and expect to get away with it. Face it, we blew it right there at the end. The moons aligned. Fate decided that Clemson needed to go to overtime. But Duke did to us what they'd been doing all night long. Slashing through our defense and driving to the hole, uncontested. Time and time again, when games get rough and the refs let the teams play, Clemson just folds. Recipe to beat the Tigers on the court? And few elbows here, a couple of shoves there, two or three scratches, and one good nut check. the Tigers faired well on my checklist and played good.

From yesterday:

1) Clemson must have a good free throw day. If it is once again a sh*t day from the freebie line, count it as a loss.
Clemson actually had a stellar game, free throw-wise. And not just for Clemson, I'd say they had a top ten team type of free throw day yesterday. They went 10-11.

2) Clemson's wanting and willingness to rebound the ball. We desperately need to pick it up in this department. The Tigers have seemed kind of iffy and indifferent about going up and getting the ball. The entire team needs to show wanton disregard for human life and lay it all on the line at every opportunity to get a rebound.
Clemson just got out rebounded. ESPECIALLY on the offensive side of the ball. I hope you took note of that. I

3) Clemson can apply the full court pressure, they just can't let Duke run right through it and past it like GT, Maryland, and UNC did. They also need to concentrate on positioning and hustling back.
Yet again, something the Tigers couldn't do that ultimately led to their demise in the final seconds.

For those of you wanting to sulk, here's the ESPN box score/recap.

I grew up a Duke fan, and I still am. I will always be. My parents went there and I’ve always followed the Blue Devils in all sports. But I grew up in South Carolina and am a Clemson graduate, so I’m first and foremost a Tiger fan. There's some weird part of my brain that wants Clemson fans to get along with Duke fans, so this week was especially annoying to troll around on Tigernet. Really base, ignorant jokes about Coach K and his wife, were not really a surprise, nor were the comments about having to not only beat Duke, but the refs as well. Nobody thought to single out the clock operator. More on that in a minute.
In terms of the game itself, the officiating was solid, allowing both teams to be physical without fouling players out. The fouls were 10 to Duke and 15 to Clemson. A lot of Clemson fans complain about James Mays being fouled hard by McRoberts. It's absurd to take that one foul out of context -- you have to consider it as a larger part of the way the game was called. Clemson got away with just as many hacks as did Duke. Clemson is a more athletic team now and they were able to rough up the opposition. On the reciprocal side of the foul situation, they buried 10 of 11 free throws, almost unheard of by the Tigers. Everything that could've gone Clemson's way did, except of course for the clock at the end.
I really felt that Clemson could've passed the ball a lot better and should have relied on more cuts to the basket. With the exception of McRoberts and Nelson, Duke isn't very athletic. Clemson shot better from the field and from the line than Duke, but it wasn't quite enough. The clock issue will be remembered for years to come. Jay Bilas sums it up best in his writeup on the ESPN.com link above. The clock operator was right to put more time on the clock, however they put too much. We don't know if Duke still would've won in regulation and certainly don't know if Clemson would've been victorious in OT. In my mind the OT would've belonged to the Tigers, momentum seemed to be on their side as the game wrapped up.
Clemson fans are understandably bitter. However this is no grand conspiracy by Swofford of the ACC as a whole. .6 seconds is certainly enough time to get a shot off, though I'm not sure Hamilton pulled the trigger that fast. Tiger faithful should be proud of their team for taking a surging Duke team to the wire. What they are actually taking from the game, however, is increased bitterness for Duke, for ACC officiating, and for the world in general.