Clemson Men's Basketball: Tigers fall to Notre Dame, still control destiny

January 21, 2023; Clemson, SC; Clemson Head Coach Brad Brownell during the second half with Virginia
January 21, 2023; Clemson, SC; Clemson Head Coach Brad Brownell during the second half with Virginia / Gannett-USA TODAY NETWORK

Last year it was Louisville, this year it was Notre Dame, but what is it about Senior Day's and Clemson Men's Basketball?

The Irish beat a shorthanded Clemson team, 69-62 on Saturday, but all is not lost for Brad Brownell's team, as they still control their double-bye in the ACC Tournament destiny with games against Syracuse and Wake Forest to wrap up the regular season in the coming week.

As soon as it was announced that Jack Clark was out for the contest against Notre Dame, I sensed there was trouble ahead for Clemson, as Clark has been a revelation on defense and the boards for the Tigers since being inserted into the starting lineup.

Add to that an off-shooting night by Joe Girard, P.J. Hall firing up three's despite being able to dominate inside at will and you have a recipe for the L that the Tigers deserved and received.

Clemson shot only 39% from the field and a putrid 17.9% from three-point range in falling to 20-9 and 10-8 in the ACC.

Somehow the Tigers placed four players in double figures, led by Hall's 21 points and followed by Chauncey Wiggins with 12, Joe Girard at 11 and Ian Schieffelin with 10.

There's not much you can depend on with this team at times, but one of those things is Schieffelin on the boards as the leading rebounder in the ACC pulled down 14 rebounds.

Despite that fact, the best the Tigers could do was a stalemate on the boards with Notre Dame, with each team pulling down 35 for the game.

Simply put this team missed Jack Clark on defense and rebounding the ball.

Clemson Men's Basketball wastes too many possessions

Looking forward, this team is an NCAA Tournament team, but I certainly have my concerns, especially at the guard position.

They say March is all about guard play and while an off night from Girard was unexpected, Chase Hunter came back down to earth, shooting 1 of 8 from the field, including 0 of 3 from deep.

More concerning than that is the lackadaisical ball handling and missing sense of urgency, for example when the Tigers had an opportunity to extend the lead to 5 or 6 at the half, but threw the ball away instead.

I'm often critical of the analysts on television, who are generally more worried about jokes, food or their highlight tapes than analyzing what's happening on the court, but Jordan Cornette of The CW did a fantastic job of explaining why 10 three-pointers were way too many for P.J. Hall to attempt.

The Tigers were dominating inside, but settled for three point attempts that netted them an average of .54 points per shot.

Meanwhile, Clemson was 18-31 on two-point shots (1.16 points per shot). No wonder the Irish let Hall fire at will and the Tigers fell for it.

Clemson hosts Syracuse Tuesday at 7 p.m. in Littlejohn Coliseum in a game slated to be televised on ESPN2.

The Orange are a half-game ahead of Clemson in the ACC standings at 11-8.

The Tigers defeated Syracuse 77-69 in Syracuse on February 10.