The dynamics of the new 18-game ACC schedule – packed into the same space as last year’s 16-game slate – has put some teams in tough spots this season.
But it probably couldn’t have worked out worse for Brad Brownell’s Tigers.
On a day’s rest from the 68-59 home loss to UNC, Clemson (13-14, 5-10 ACC) heads to Virginia Tech (12-16, 3-12), and short-handed at that.
They will likely play the middle of a three games in six days run without forward K.J. McDaniels, who missed Thursday’s contest with the Tar Heels with a sprained ankle.
McDaniels, wearing a boot on his left foot on the bench, was missed on both ends of the court, as the Tigers’ second-leading scorer coming in, and defensively, he had blocked a shot in 16-straight games. UNC shot 47.3 percent from the field without a shot blocked on the night.
"At this time of the year, it wasn’t a great game for us for K.J. to be hurt because of the way they play," Brownell said. "We needed more small guys in this game. And it’s a little bit of concern for the next game because this time of year the legs are a little heavy…
"A lot of them played a lot of minutes so bouncing back with the travel and two more games really quickly is not ideal."
This is Clemson’s second tough stretch this season, after playing four games in nine days midseason, which they split.
The Tigers have lost 6-of-7 going into Saturday’s 8 p.m. start, while the Hokies – sitting in last place in the ACC – recently snapped a nine-game losing streak.
After dropping another on the home court, senior forward Milton Jennings is ready to return the favor on Senior Night in Blacksburg, Va.
"Everybody has pride," Jennings said. "We lost one again at home so we have to go on the road take one from somebody else. That’s how to get your guys fired (up).
"We’re going into somebody else’s house – let’s take one."
Jennings scored a career-high 28 points playing all 40 minutes in Clemson’s 77-70 win over the Hokies in Littlejohn on Jan. 27.
"We played Virginia Tech well already," said Jennings. "We had a good win and really went to the glass. Went to the hole and got their big guys in foul trouble. They’re going to be looking for a new game-plan to stop us and we’ll see what we did and try to do that again."
Virginia Tech guard Erick Green will be playing his last game in Cassell Coliseum, leading the nation with 24.9 points per game.
Green posted 25 points, knocking down 11 free throws in the first matchup with the Tigers, and has averaged 13.2 points per in his career against Clemson in six games.