Clemson coach Brad Brownell wanted his team to learn from its first COVID-19 pause in early January, after the Tigers returned to action from the 11-day break to lose three straight games by decisive margins.
Apparently they heard him.
"The last time we were in pause I didn't feel like we had enough time to get the competitive edge back that you need," Brownell said. "So this time we really tried to condition them and put our guys though some tough days.
"Having gone through the pause once, the guys understand what happened. Listening to details, learning about concerns, fundamentals are important. If you care, you're going to listen a little better. I'm happy to see it all worked out for the best."
Coming off its most recent 12-day pause, the Tigers flashed their defensive prowess in a 60-39 victory at Wake Forest, holding the Demon Deacons to a season-low point output.
Besides boosting their record to 14-5 overall and 8-5 in the Atlantic Coast Conference, the victory enhanced the Tigers' postseason resume heading into the season's home stretch. Clemson will carry a four-game winning streak into Saturday's game against Miami at the Tigers' Littlejohn Coliseum in Clemson, S.C.
Clemson is 9-1 this season at Littlejohn.
The Hurricanes (7-14, 3-13) enter the game having lost four consecutive games and eight of their last nine.
The Tigers rank second in the ACC in scoring defense, allowing 61.8 points per game, but Miami's primary concern may be the Tigers' depth.
"They play a lot of guys -- they're very deep," Miami coach Jim Larranaga said. "They're not like Florida State in terms of just playing fast, getting up and down the floor. Florida State is leading the league in scoring. Clemson is more of a team that grinds you down. They rotate players and they're a good man-to-man defensive team."
Clemson has 11 players who average 10 or more minutes a game, led by senior forward Aamir Simms, who leads team in scoring (13.3), rebounding (6.2) and assists (2.6).
"The thing that made Clemson so difficult for us the first time around was Aamir Simms, who can play inside and outside," Larranaga said. "He's a hard guy for us to guard on the perimeter because he's shoots threes so well. He's also hard for us to guard inside because he's got a lot of skill around the basket."
--Field Level Media