Wed, 03 Mar 2021

Clemson looks to get back on track vs. No. 25 Louisville

Field Level Media
26 Jan 2021, 10:40 GMT+10

Clemson and Louisville weren't scheduled to play until March 3.

Instead they'll be playing Wednesday night in Clemson, S.C.

Clemson originally was scheduled to play Boston College, but that game has been postponed due to COVID-19 protocol within the Boston College program.

"It's a little disruptive because we had an assistant coach or two preparing for Boston College ahead of time," Clemson coach Brad Brownell said. "Louisville was on the schedule at the end of the season, so we really had not put any time into those guys and now that is who you are going to play."

Clemson is struggling mightily following a 9-1 start, having lost three consecutive games by an average of 24 points to slip to 9-4 overall and 3-4 in the Atlantic Coast Conference.

Louisville (10-3, 5-2), meanwhile, snapped a two-game losing streak with a 70-65 victory against Duke on Saturday and has re-entered the Associated Press poll at No. 25.

"You're scrambling," said Louisville coach Chris Mack, whose team dropped a 15-point decision at Clemson last season. "You're trying to get as much information in your brain to be able to relay it to your players.

"We've preached all year long about flexibility and versatility. It's certainly needed when a game that was scheduled in March gets thrown on your plate here Jan. 27. But we're excited to play, knowing otherwise that we'd have a lot of days off."

The Cardinals won't play again until Feb. 1.

Carlik Jones scored 24 points against the Blue Devils, and the grad transfer from Radford ranks third in the ACC in scoring (18.4 ppg) and assists (4.8 apg). On Monday, he was named as one of the top 10 candidates for the 2021 Bob Cousy Point Guard of the Year Award.

"I don't worry about Carlik in the pivotal moments of a game," Mack said. "He's a gamer, he's been that way his whole life, and this level, this stage, doesn't affect that."

Clemson's losing streak has come after an 11-day break due to COVID-19 protocol. The Tigers had climbed to as high as No. 12, but now find themselves completely out of the polls and 15th among "others receiving votes."

Clemson's once-heralded defense has been fairly bludgeoned during the recent skid, with Virginia, Georgia Tech and Florida State outscoring the Tigers 248-176 and combining to shoot 53 percent from 3-point range.

"We haven't played well and those teams have really made us pay," Brownell said. "Our offense is not good enough that we can get into a scoring contest, and our defense has to be better.

"We've lost some energy, lost some confidence. We've got to get this fixed."

--Field Level Media

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