As we enter the 2nd week February, at least 11 ACC teams are in the running for a possible NCAA bid. The only ACC teams with virtually no chance of making the field are Boston College, Pittsburgh, NC State and Clemson.
Boston College is rebuilding, and Kevin Stallings is only in his first year at Pittsburgh. Mark Gottfried is on the hotseat at NC State, but has 4 NCAA appearances and 2 Sweet 16s in his 6 years at NC State. Brad Brownell and Clemson will likely miss the NCAA tournament for the 6th straight year. Currently the Tigers sit 13-10 (3-9), and need a near miracle finish or an ACC Tournament Title to make the Big Dance. In other words the chances are pretty slim Clemson will make the NCAAs.
Is this the end for Brownell at Clemson? Should it be?
As Clemson entered season, this was regarded as Brownell most athletic most talented team. Projected NBA pick Jaron Bloosomgame was returning, and in spite of playing in a deep talented ACC, Clemson looked like at NCAA team.
The season as we got into conference play, it became a one disappointment after another. 6 of the 8 Tiger ACC losses have come by single digits. End of the game sequences have been typically marked empty offensive possessions, defensive lapses, and mistakes from the bench. Last week against Syracuse, Clemson made the wrong substitution, nearly called a timeout they didn’t have, and left Syracuse shooter Tyus Battle wide open for a game winning 3 point shot.
I’m sorry to say, but that’s indicative of a team that is not being coached up. The team for whatever reason doesn’t buy in defensively and sits near the bottom of the ACC in several defensive categories. Working in Brownell’s favor to extend his tenure is he is only in year 1 of recruiting with a new arena at Clemson, but how much should the considered?
Former Georgia Tech head coach Brian Gregory spent 4 years in a renovated McCamish Pavilion and never once made the NCAA’s.
Brownell and his team are trouble, and he knows it. They only way the Tiger’s sniff the NCAA’s is to win at least 5 of their last 6 games, to finish the year 18-11 (8-10). Otherwise Brownell may be coaching his final games at Clemson. I’m getting the sense in a league filled with future Hall of Fame coaches, that Brownell just isn’t capable of getting Clemson over the hump. He’s got 1 month to prove us wrong.