Who is Clemson? You've got questions, we've got answers. You already know the basics from yesterday's post. Now it's time to delve in. We thought about asking a nice, family friendly Clemson blog to do a Q&A, but that's not our style. We wanted honesty, not pie in the sky crap. We wanted "F*** YOU, WE'RE CLEMSON! WOOOT!!!1111!1" So, naturally, we contacted the good folks at Block-C (formerly DannyFordIsGod) to get the low down on the Tigers.
Special thanks to Willy Mac for the answers below. He asked me to let everyone know they'll be hosting a Clemson Fans Live Thread for all you Clemson fans tomorrow.
We'll have our own CiL Live Blog thread up and running tomorrow, so any of you Clemson fans who want to join us, you're welcome in. FYI, there's another surprise on the way tomorrow. One you'll love. One that is so spectacular it might just impregnate you on the spot, even if you're a dude. You'll have to check in tomorrow for the details. Oh, and we'll also have a full Clemson preview up to boot.
Now, on to the questioning!
Maize n Brew: Who is Clemson's best player: a) night in night out; and b) on talent alone.
Block-C: There is one player that meets both of those stipulations and his name is Trevor Booker who plays sort of a center/power forward hybrid position for us. When he's on, he can shut down a game with his rebounding and dunks, but when he's off teams run roughshod underneath the board. Well, they do that anyways if everyone isn't clicking underneath the board which is more times than not lately. One thing you can always count on with Booker are his free throws and field goals within/near the paint and the points he gets when he actually does drive to the hole.
Maize n Brew: Tell us a little about head coach Oliver Purnell. Seems like a good coach and a program builder. What's your take?
Block-C: Oliver Purnell builds greatness and success where ever he goes and this is evidenced by his track record by taking smaller schools to heights that they haven't seen. Our take is the same as yours. He's an excellent coach and he has the foresight and will to build a foundation for his program. I just hope that Clemson and our needy, knee-jerk reaction fanbase can realize this and lock him down for the long run.
Maize n Brew: Talk about Clemson's defense. We've heard about the full court press, but that can't be the end of the story, can it? Clemson is forcing turnovers on 24% of their opponent's possessions. That's insane. Once Clemson's defense transitions across the timeline, how do they pressure the ball and what kind of defenses do they run?
Block-C: I have no idea what defense we're going to try to hit you with because Purnell has been tinkering with the system as of late. We will at some point come at you with the full court seeing as you guys are more of a two-point team. He likes to keep the pressure on a lot which can sometimes backfire, but when it wears the other team and creates turnovers it can be a deadly system. It really depends on what Clemson team shows up. We've been playing with less and less motivation and attention as of late so your guess is as good as ours.
Maize n Brew: The stats tell me Clemson isn't a deep team, as 75% of its scoring is coming from the starting five (and most of that from the trio of KC Rivers, Trevor Booker, and Terrence Oglesby). Do the stats lie? Tell us who the first guy off the bench is and who your unsung hero of the season is. How have they contributed in stat column or off it?
Block-C: The stats don't really show it, but they're a hardworking bunch whose main role is really to run the opposition ragged. They come off the bench a little better stats wise than most other teams. They've done an excellent job at coming into the game and bridging the drop off in talent. If I had to pick one bench player I'd have to go with Tanner Smith as my first guy based on hustle. Then I'd have to go with Jerai Grant based on talent and timing.
Maize n Brew: Clemson was 16-0 and stumbled to a 7-8 finish along with going 1-4 in their last five. What happened over the last half of the season? Was it playing teams who were fighting for the tournament, lack of concentration, tough luck? The quotes following the loss to Georgia Tech were really surprising and I've seem the phrases "rock bottom," "disheartening," and slumping thrown around the Clemson media a lot. Is this all crap or is there some substance to it? Give us a little insight into where this team is.
Block-C: It's mostly overblown crap from local media that's not really used to writing on or following basketball. They're just biding time until football season. The best answer I can give you is that we didn't stumble. I mean yeah we played a few good teams early on in the season, but we played a lot of cupcakes too. We hit our in conference schedule and got ripped to pieces like most of the other teams in the ACC. I mean, I hate to sound like an overbearing SEC football homer, but the ACC is the best conference in tems of strength of schedule and out of conference performance. The conference is very tough from top to bottom and let's be honest, a team that goes nearly undefeated is something special and they come few and far in between. Clemson homers enjoy putting those kinds of unrealistic expectations on our athletic teams that show even a spark of talent and potential. Every loss seems like an mini-apocalyptic scenario playing out with in our community sometimes.
Maize n Brew: Tell me how Clemson wins on Thursday. What do they need to do against Michigan on offense and defense to advance?
Block-C: They do what's worked for them in the past: Keep the pressure on and force the turnovers, wear your team down and try to let fatigue play a factor, and force you to take three point shots which your team isn't going to want to take. Judging from what little I've seen of Michigan (but I've done my homework on this, somewhat) this would at least be my game plan if I were a coach heading into Thursday.