The 2012-13 season hasn’t been downgraded from a rescue to a recovery yet, but it’s fair to ask how long it might take Clemson to fully recover from what happened to it on Thursday in a 78-41 roundball meltdown at Virginia.
It was painful to watch, and I can’t imagine anyone who wasn’t a diehard Cavaliers fan sticking around to endure all the carnage.
It was a relentless beating — one that continued long after Brad Brownell’s men had hit the canvas and been counted out.
Perhaps it’s appropriate the game was played at John Paul Jones Arena.
One of the American Revolution’s heroes (and the venue’s namesake) once said, “Whoever can surprise must conquer.”
Hard to believe that all those years ago — before basketball had been invented, even — the sailor had this game in mind. After all, the Wahoos surprised Clemson with a small lineup that ran circles around it.
(Of course another John Paul Jones was a bassist and keyboardist for Led Zeppelin and co-wrote the song “Trampled Under Foot.” That’s an apt description of this one-sided affair, too).
In a nutshell it was a humiliating loss that saw the losing team net a grand total of 10 points in the first half.
That tells you everything you need to know.
But if you’re a glutton for punishment and need to know more, here goes:
It was the Tigers’ worst defeat in an ACC game in 10 years.
Clemson shot six percent from 3-point range or — more simply — hit just one of 17 tries from behind the arc.
The visitors trailed 14-2 early in the game and turned the ball over six times in the first five minutes.
The list goes on and on but the insult added to injury was that weather conditions prevented the team from flying back home on Thursday.
They had to take a bus.
There were no reports that the bus developed a flat tire or was attacked by pterodactyls on the return trip. If we find out later that either or both happened, though, it should come as a surprise to no one.
The night was just that bad.
Unlike any other loss this season the 37-point slapdown brought out the ire in some Clemson fans, who took to message boards to wail and moan and rip their team.
And if you base the season on one game, then yeah, this was a commercial for the immediate start of college baseball season.
But as we all know this is an up-and-down team that got about as down as you can get in the ol’ Commonwealth.
Things will get better and they might get better today against a North Carolina State club the Tigers came oh-so-close to beating in Raleigh on Jan. 20.
In fact, they get eight more regular season chances to lose the stench they picked up at Virginia, so they’ve got that going for them.
But as long as we’re blowing sunshine, we might as well acknowledge the likelihood of more ill winds blowing as well.
Of those eight games remaining before the ACC Tournament, half are on the road.
And we all know what happens to Clemson on the road.
So things will get better, and then they might get worse before they get better again — although surely they will get no worse than the worst-case scenario of Feb. 7.
With just two seniors and a lot of freshmen and sophomores, this team is as wildly inconsistent as any you’ll come across.
It’s a team that doesn’t quit, but sometimes it never really gets started, either.