I watched the 2nd half and overtime of last night’s game. Some thoughts:
• I really like the play of several of the young Wake players. Last night, Smith, McFarland and Johnson stood out. Wake is the worst shooting team in the ACC and their outside shooting and shooting from the foul line were atrocious last night. Of course, Clemson clanked some free throws as well. Neither of these teams will do well in tournament play unless they can hit a better % from the foul line.
• This was a home game that Clemson needed to win. Wake blew a good opportunity to win a road game. Looking at the league schedule, Wake may have the easiest schedule of all since they only play Duke, UNC and Clemson one time each. They still need to show that they can win on the road against the rest of the ACC.
• I seem to recall that Wake has recruited some highly rated big men for next year. I find that interesting because Johnson, McFarland, Skeen and Weaver are young and they looked good last night. If fact, they outplayed the Clemson big men. IMO, Wake needs some perimeter players who can hit some threes.
• I have not confirmed this but it seems like there have been several overtime games in league play already.
• Smith looked good in the 2nd half but I find it amazing that folks are happy when their point guard hits ˝ his free throws. He shoots 36% for the season.
Clemson seems to have trouble with slashing teams. Against UNC they could just clog the paint and bash on UNC's bigs, who have not much range or driving ability. Against us and Wake the Clemson big men seemed more vulnerable to slashing from the wings.
It's going to be an interesting ACC, as usual.
I just can't get over how horrible Clemson's free throw shooting continues to be. That really hurts them in close games (and clearly cost them the UNC game).
This was a game the Tigers had to win. They are 15-4 (3-2 ACC) and seem to be in good shape, but by an odd quirk in the schedule, they've played four ACC home games so far and still have seven road games to play in the league. And history suggests that the road is tough for the Tigers.
If they are going to break their NCAA dry spell, they've GOT to protect their homecourt. Those four remaining home games (BC, Miami and the two Tech's) could get them to 19 wins. Then they have to add a couple on the road -- at Miami, at Virginia, at UNC (we can forget that one), at NC State, at Florida State, at Maryland and/or at Georgia Tech.
After the last two years, I don't think they are a lock for the NCAA -- even though they remain No. 25 in the coaches' poll.
As for Wake, I think they'll end up in the NIT this year, but they are on an upward swing. I think next year's big men will help a lot -- Johnson is, like Singler, an inside-outside forward who can play on the wing. Skeen is, in IMHO, a very average player (although he did play well last night). The Aminu kid -- a top 10 power forward prospect -- will be a big upgrade at that spot.
I'll be interested to see how much better McFarland gets (hope the knee he hurt last night isn't a long-term problem). He could hold off newcomers Ty Walker and Tony Wood in the post next year ... still, I'm sure Gaudio will be happy to have a better options that David Weaver.
Love their backcourt -- Smith and Teague are a pair of points playing together and they'll just get better and better.
You put you're finger on the one thing that may hold them back -- poor 3-point shooting. But Johnson has a nice stroke -- he may be able to up his average. Hale and Williams have it off and on.
I think they are a first-division team and an NCAA team next year. This year, they'll be a tough out, especially in Littlejohn (where we play them Feb. 17).
Wake went along because playing there worked pretty well for them last night...
even if it ended badly thats a nice showing for a young team