Clemson Men's Basketball: It's the Tigers turn to avoid the letdown

Tigers took advantage of a tough spot for Tar Heels, now must avoid the same
Feb 6, 2024; Chapel Hill, North Carolina, USA; Clemson Tigers center PJ Hall (24) shoots in the
Feb 6, 2024; Chapel Hill, North Carolina, USA; Clemson Tigers center PJ Hall (24) shoots in the / Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

After a tough January, Clemson Men's Basketball finally has a chance to feel good about themselves after the program's second-ever win in Chapel Hill on Tuesday.

2 and 60 never felt so good.

The pats on the back around campus and "We're back" mentality certainly has set in for a segment of the fans, but the players must remain focused on the task ahead.

Brad Brownell's team now must head to Syracuse, New York to take on the Orangemen of Syracuse on Saturday at noon.

Clemson has had a few days to celebrate and reflect, but can't rest on their laurels, nor can they take this game for granted.

The win in Chapel Hill evened the Tigers mark against Quad 1 teams at 4-4, but they do have 2 Quad 2 losses and a Quad 3 loss currently on their resume.

A win at No. 87 Syracuse would qualify as a Quad 2 win (or loss).

But more than that, there are no more cupcakes on the Clemson schedule and this is a game the Tigers will be favored in, even if it is by the slimmest of margins.

In short, this is a game Clemson should win.

Syracuse comes in at 15-8 overall and 6-6 in the ACC and have had an uneven trip through the conference.

They've been blasted by Wake Forest, Duke and North Carolina, but have beaten Pittsburgh twice, Miami and North Carolina State, with those three big losses coming away from home.

Speaking of home courts, gives the Orangemen 3.3 points for the game being played at JMA Wireless Arena and ranks the facility in the top 100 home court advantages in America.

Syracuse features three double-digit scorers led by guard Judah Mintz at 18.3 points per game, with JJ Starling at 13.0 and Chris Bell at 11.2.

The Orangemen are a young team that hasn't shot or rebounded the ball particularly well on the season, making just 34.2% of their three-point shots and ranking No. 300 in offensive rebounding percentage.

The Clemson Men's Basketball veteran lineup needs to take advantage on the boards

The Tigers have one of the more experienced teams in the country and have improved on the boards since the return of Jack Clark.

Ian Schieffelin leads Clemson with 9.6 rebounds a game, with P.J. Hall chipping in 7.1 per contest, but Clark has pulled down 15 rebounds in the last two contests.

Schieffelin's effort is notable every game, but his 14-point, 11-rebound effort in 28 minutes against North Carolina was particularly impressive considering early foul trouble.

Hall leads Clemson in scoring at 20.1 points per game, followed by Joe Girard at 15.0 and Chase Hunter at 11.8.

After a rough go of it last month, the Tigers are feeling good about themselves and their chances of playing deep into March again, but that could be gone with a slip-up in upstate New York.

It's right there for Brad Brownell's veteran-laden team, all they have to do is seize the opportunity.

Saturday's game is scheduled to tip at noon EST and will be televised on ESPN2.