Brownell Pleads Clemson’s Case to NCAA Selection Committee

Clemson’s 25-point victory over NC State allowed the men’s basketball team to move up 16 spots to No. 58 in the NCAA’s latest NET rankings. Though that was a big jump, the Tigers still have some work to if they want to ensure they can earn a bid to next month’s NCAA Tournament.

“Play really good basketball and win more games,” Clemson head coach Brad Brownell said on what the Tigers need to do to make the NCAA Tournament.

They will get another opportunity on Tuesday when they visit No. 6 Virginia in Charlottesville, Va. The Cavaliers currently rank No. 28 in the NET, meaning Clemson has a chance to get a second straight Quad 1 win.

The NC State victory improved the Tigers to 4-2 in Quad 1 games.

“Now this year, I don’t know if this is our fourth Quad 1 win, but unfortunately we have not been able to schedule as many of those games as we would like,” Brownell said. “Some of the teams in the league (are down) so there have not been as many Quad 1s there. A couple of games we tried to schedule, but you can’t predict it all. But now, we have a couple of bad losses so that is going to be a bugaboo this year. Right now, it is.

“You almost feel like they are looking for some reason not to put us in. You don’t have enough Quad 1s, you have too many quad threes, fours or whatever it is.”

Technically, Clemson (21-8, 13-5 ACC) has an 8-2 record versus Quad 4 teams, with losses coming to Loyola Chicago and Louisville. The Tiges are 6-2 against Quadrant 3 – South Carolina and Boston College are the losses in that quadrant.

“Louisville is not a Quad 4 team,” Brownell said. “We played Louisville in front of 16,000 people when they were honoring their 2013 National Championship team. The building was on fire and it was not a Quad 4 game.

“Now, it is in theory, but they sure did not play like many Quad 4 teams, I will tell you that. So, there are some challenges to it, a lot of efficiency numbers involved that I think occasionally can mislead some things.”

Brownell hates it for the ACC because he feels the top eight or nine teams in the league can play in any league in the country, though it seems just six ACC teams will likely make it into the Big Dance. The ACC’s win over the Big Ten in the ACC/Big Ten Challenge backs up Brownell’s claim.

But like Syracuse head coach Jim Boeheim pointed out following Clemson’s 18-point over the Orange this past Tuesday, the ACC suffered some unfortunate out-of-conference defeats this year, like the Tigers’ losses to South Carolina and Loyola Chicago.

“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.”

One down, one to go.

“It is hard and it is a little bit frustrating,” Brownell said. “You have a couple of injuries like we did. Chase (Hunter) did not play three games, we won two of them. Then Brevin (Galloway) is out for two games, we lost a game in each of those.

“Then we lose a game where we played pretty well against Miami, who is playing great. All of sudden, we have lost three out of five or whatever it is, three out of four. We are kinda of putting it back together now and we have played great the last two games.”

Brownell understands there are challenging things about the NET that are difficult for the NCAA Selection Committee.

“We are on the bubble, obviously,” Brownell said. “So, this was a big win for us. Kevin (Keatts) and I were talking to each other about it just before the game. In 2018-’19, I think it was, they were 33 in the NET and we were 35 and neither one of us made it.

“I know our thing was we did not have Quad 1 wins, or whatever it was, we had maybe one. We were like 1-9 against Quad 1. We did not have the bad losses, but we only had one Quad 1 win, so 35 in the NET was not enough. Thirty-three was not enough. It’s crazy.”

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