Boeheim says Clemson NCAA Tournament Team, but…

Jim Boeheim knows what an NCAA Tournament team looks like. In his 47 years as Syracuse’s head coach, he has seen and coached his fair share of them.

That is why, perhaps, the NCAA Tournament Selection Committee should take note when the Hall of Fame head coach said Clemson is an NCAA Tournament team.

“I think they are a good team, and it is not just because they beat us,” Boeheim said after Clemson’s 91-73 victory over the Orange Wednesday night at Littlejohn Coliseum in Clemson. “I have watched them all year. I think they are a good team.”

The Tigers (20-8, 12-5 ACC) looked good against Syracuse. They eviscerated the Orange’s patented zone defense, shooting 52.3 percent overall from the field (34-65) and 38.9 percent from three-point range (14-36).

Clemson also tallied 28 assists, the most by a Brad Brownell coached team, dominated the boards (38-28 rebounding edge) and points in the paint (38-28).

“I think they are a really good team,” Boeheim said. “They lost a couple of games early. I don’t know how they lose to Louisville, but that stuff happens. But that is what hurts you at the end of the day. Those are the kind of games that come back to bite you.”

Last Saturday’s loss at Louisville could bite the Tigers because of what it meant to their NCAA NET Ranking. The NET is used as the selection committee’s primary tool when it compares teams on selection day.

Clemson moved up seven spots from 82 to 75 in the NET following its win over Syracuse, but can the Tigers move up more? Boeheim feels it will be hard for Clemson to move up because the ACC has nine schools ranked No. 66 or lower, including the Tigers.

It also does not help Clemson has bad out of conference losses to South Carolina and Loyola Chicago, plus bad ACC defeats to Boston College and Louisville. The Gamecocks are ranked 230 in the newest NET, while the Ramblers are No. 268. The Eagles are 167 and the Cardinals are 305 in the ranking.

“If you look at Clemson, the facts are the facts. They lost those games early,” Boeheim said. “I think they are a tournament team, but the NET is not going to show that unless they beat somebody on their schedule. They have to beat a couple of teams with high nets.”

The Tigers will get that opportunity on Saturday when they play at NC State, who is ranked No. 37 in the NET and then at Virginia, No. 21, on Tuesday.

“Yes, we need (to win) them. Absolutely, we know that,” Brownell said. “I don’t think I need to tell my team that, my team knows that. We need to play good basketball. If we play good basketball, really good basketball, all of those other things will take care of itself.

“It starts with playing really good basketball and having a really collective and determined spirit as a group. It is going to take all of that against those two teams. Those teams are two of the best teams in our league and our playing great.”

If Clemson can get one win or win both, then it helps the resume. It would not hurt to win an ACC Tournament game or two, either. The Tigers, who conclude the regular season hosting No. 196 Notre Dame on March 4, can still clinch a top four seed in the ACC Tournament next month. They currently have a half-game lead over NC State for the No. 4 spot in the ACC standings.

A win at NC State on Saturday can go a long way in securing that spot. No ACC team that has finished in the top four of the league standings has missed the NCAA Tournament since the tournament expanded to 64 teams in 1985.

Clemson needs to win two of its last three games to clinch the No. 4 seed in the ACC Tournament.

–photo by Jonathan Abercrombie / All Clemson

Want to join in on the discussion? 100% FREE! Interact with fellow Tiger fans and hear directly from publisher Zach Lentz, deputy editor Brad Senkiw, recruiting analyst Jason Priester and staff writer Will Vandervort on any subject. Click here to become a member of the ALL CLEMSON message board community today!
Do us a HUGE favor and like, subscribe and follow us on social media:
►LIKE us on Facebook:
►FOLLOW All Clemson on Twitter:

0 0 votes
Article Rating

Leave a Reply

Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
%d bloggers like this: