2022-23 Clemson Basketball Versus The 2017-18 Team

Clemson Tigers shooting guard Alex Hemenway
The 2022-23 Clemson basketball team started 5-0 in the ACC despite their best three point shooter, Alex Hemenway, missing the past four games due to plantar fasciitis David Platt

Three Similarities Between 17-18 and 2022-23 Clemson Basketball Team

The 2022-23 Clemson basketball team faces the Louisville Cardinals at home tonight. With a win tonight, against the worst team in the ACC, the Tigers will start 6-0 in the conference for the first time. Head Coach Brad Brownell’s best team, 2017-18, made the Sweet 16. The 2022-23 feels similar to it, in three major ways.

Both teams finished 17-16 the year before and both lost important players. The New York Knicks did not draft Aamir Sims, but they signed him to their G League team in Westchester. He now plays in Paris. The 2017-18 team lost Jarron Blossomgame, who the San Antonio Spurs drafted him in the second round. He now plays in Europe as well, for AS Monaco.

Injuries also played a large role for both teams. Guard Alex Hemenway may return soon and center PJ Hall continues to regain strength in his injured knee. Some around the 2017-18 team thought they lost their chance for a Final Four when forward Donte Grantham tore his ACL. Overcoming injuries and still winning important games was the most impressive part of both teams seasons.

Three Major Difference Between the 17-18 and 22-23 Teams

The biggest difference between the 17-18 team and 2022-23 Clemson basketball team was the strength of the ACC. Though no team made the Final Four, five made the Sweet 16, and both Duke and North Carolina lost in the Elite Eight. Currently the ACC ranks as the sixth strongest conference in the country.

The year’s team must continue to win in the ACC, due not only to the conference’s weakness, but two bad losses pre-conference play. The best win the 22-23 team had before conference play, at home against Penn State, does not compare to the 17-18 teams best wins. That team won its Big Ten- ACC challenge game at Ohio State, and beat #22 Florida at a neutral site, before conference play.

The 22-23 Clemson basketball teams biggest preconference win came against Penn State in the Big Ten-ACC challenge. The Tigers managed to hold off the Nittany Lions at home in double overtime

The weakness of the conference this year, and the fact that Hemenway and Hall returned or will return from injury, is the other big difference between the two teams. Grantham’s ACL injury ended his season. I attended the game against Notre Dame when he injured his knee. The crowd fell silent, believing a chance for a great season to slipped through their fingers. They still made the NCAA Tournament, falling behind by 20, before falling just short against Kansas in the Sweet 16. This years team still needs more high level wins to have the same opportunity.

Bottom Line on 17-18 and 22-23 Clemson Basketball Teams

Both the 17-18 and 22-23 team, either overachieved or are currently playing above their preseason predicted ACC finish. Analysts and writers even picked them both to finish 11th in the conference. When players suffered injury others stepped up to fill the void. In the 17-18 teams case the guards, Gabe Devoe, Shelton Mitchell, and Marcquise Reed all helped fill in as playmakers for the Tigers. Center Elijah Thomas provided a solid inside option and defender.

This years team, as mentioned before, caught a break in that PJ Hall missed just one game after knee surgery. Hunter Tyson, Chase Hunter, and Brevin Galloway all continue to shoot well, making Hemenway’s absence less noticeable. The Tigers continue to lead the ACC in three point and free throw shooting.

Every Brownell coached team plays stingy defense. The differences between the 17-18 and 22-23 teams and most his other teams, they both have experienced players and shoot well. Players seem to need a chance to grown in Brownell’s system, and this year’s team has proven to be no different. Now the questions the 22-23 Clemson basketball team must answer: can it overcome their early bad losses, and exceed the 17-18 teams run in the NCAA Tournament?

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