It’s the last game in Littlejohn Coliseum for the 2017-18 men’s basketball season. It’s also the last time that Gabe DeVoe, Donte Grantham and Mark Donnal will dawn the orange and regalia uniforms as part of the team in their home arena.
The Tigers are 21-7 (10-6) on the season so far with two regular season games left before the ACC Tournament starts. They snapped a three game losing streak beating Georgia Tech this past Saturday in Littlejohn, sweeping the season series with the Yellow Jackets.
In the first game against the Noles, Clemson never allowed them to have a lead in regulation play. FSU overcame a large second half deficit and tied the game up in the waining seconds to send it to overtime where they would ultimately win the game, 81-79. That was the fourth straight loss in the for the Tigers against Florida State, making them 31-41 all-time versus the team from Tallahassee.
Clemson currently holds the fourth spot in the ACC standings, tied with NC State, at 10-6. A win tonight would make them 11-6, the most ACC wins in a single season in Clemson’s history.
This year’s success can be attributed to the guard play the Tigers have had. Shelton Mitchell is the floor general and facilitator, Marquise Reed is the shot seeker and Gabe DeVoe is the three-point shooter.
When Grantham was healthy, he was the best all-around player Clemson had. The stretch-four rebounded, shot at a high percentage with efficiency and could handle the ball like a point. Clemson has found a way, in his absence, to reinvent themselves midseason and still rack up some good wins, including one over UNC. But when Mitchell went out of the game in Tallahassee, with what would be diagnosed later as a concussion, Brownell’s bunch was not able to find the same success. They would go 0-2 in the games without Mitchell, giving the Tigers their first losing streak of the season.
Without Mitchell, this team is not the same offensively. Mitchell is the only true ball handler on the team and his ability to see the floor and open up opportunities for guys like Reed and DeVoe is critical to this teams success in March.
As long as all three guards can stay healthy, I think this team has the chance to make a deep run in the ACC and NCAA tournaments respectively. But it starts with getting a victory tonight in the last home game of the season against Florida State.
With Floor General Mitchell back in the lineup, this team again has the ability to contend with anyone. The series with FSU typically always involves close games and I don’t expect this one to be any different. I think Clemson is playing for more than revenge in this game though.
It’s the last home game of the season and Littlejohn has not been friendly to road teams this year. Clemson is 14-1 at home this year, with the only loss coming to the Blue Devils of Duke; their first game without Mitchell.
I’m expecting a big game from DeVoe with it being his last career game at the Coliseum. Florida State will battle and keep it close but this is a game the Tigers want and I think it’s one that they will refuse to lose.