After spending a season playing “home” games at the Bon Secours Wellness Arena in Greenville, SC, the Clemson Tigers will return home to an updated Littlejohn Coliseum. The Tigers’ home got a $63.5 million facelift that began in May 2015. The “new” Littlejohn Coliseum features a club level section for fans, the largest curved center hung video board in college basketball, which features 6 screens, the new Swann Pavilion with state of the art amenities for players and coaches of both the men’s and women’s basketball programs, and many other improvements. Clemson unofficially opened the season with a free exhibition against the Lander University Bobcats, a Division 2 program from Greenwood, SC. The Tigers defeated Lander 105-49.
Clemson officially begins the season Friday November 11 by hosting rival Georgia at home in the “new” Littlejohn. The Tigers are lead by redshirt senior forward Jaron Blossomgame. Blossomgame attended the NBA combine after last season before deciding to return for one more year in Tiger Town. Blossomgame was projected as a possible second round pick for last year’s draft, and is now projected by many sources to be a first round pick. Blossomgame is joined in the front court by junior forward Donte Grantham and senior center Sidy Djitte. Redshirt senior Avry Holmes will run point guard for the Tigers, while redshirt sophomore Shelton Mitchell gets the start at shooting guard. Junior guard Gabe Devoe looks to provide a spark for Clemson off the bench. The Shelby, NC native has showed the ability to be a great threat from the 3 point range. Devoe dropped 20 points in the exhibition, and was 4 for 7 from 3 point range. The Tigers will also look to get work out of 7 footer Legend Robertin. The junior from London played in 10 games for the Tigers last season, and will look to help Sidy Djitte fill the hole left by the graduation of starting center Landry Nnoko.
Last season, the Tigers finished the season at 17-14 with a 10-8 ACC record. Despite a big win on the road against Syracuse and home wins over #16 Louisville, #9 Duke, and #8 Miami, the Tigers were not selected to play in the NCAA tournament or the NIT. Those big wins were overshadowed by 7-6 non conference record with no “good” wins and multiple “bad” losses. The Tigers also were 3-6 on the road in conference play. Clemson’s season ended with a 88-85 overtime loss to Georgia Tech in the second round of the ACC tournament at the Verizon Center in Washington, DC.
The Georgia Bulldogs, Clemson’s Friday opponent, comes of a 94-38 home exhibition win over Fort Valley State. The Dawgs finished the season 20-14 with a 10-8 SEC record. Their season ended with a second round NIT loss to St. Mary’s. Georgia defeated Clemson last season in Athens by a score of 71-48. Clemson and Georgia have a long storied rivalry in many sports, and men’s basketball is know different. Clemson trails the all time series 22-56. The two teams met 72 times from 1913-1965 before a break in the series where the two teams did not meet again until the third round of the 1986 NIT, where the Tigers topped the Dawgs in Clemson 77-62. The two teams met again in the 1996 NCAA Tournament First Round, where the Dawgs beat Clemson 81-74 in Albuquerque, New Mexico. The next matchup would be a 77-57 Tiger victory in the 1999 NIT first round in Clemson. UGA and Clemson had a neutral site “home and home” with UGA beating Clemson in Atlanta’s Phillips Arena in December 2003, and the Tigers knocking off UGA at the Bi-Lo Center in Greenville in February 2005. The two teams have had various home and home match ups since then. Friday’s game is set to tip off at 7:00 PM. It will be televised regionally via ACC Network affiliates and will be available to be watched online through ACC Network Extra.