Clemson men’s basketball coach Brad Brownell did not hold back his feelings towards the NCAA Selection Committee when he met with the media Monday afternoon.
Brownell admitted he was angry and felt the committee made a mistake, as it chose to extend at-large bids to NC State and Pitt to the NCAA Tournament and not the Tigers. Clemson was one of the first four teams not to make the Big Dance and instead had to accept a bid as a No. 1 seed in the NIT.
“To watch some of those teams get in and not us, I know that part of it was hard for me and it was really hard for our players,” he said. “It is hard to justify that to your players. They don’t know all the metrics and all of those kinds of things.
“I don’t think it makes sense.”
NC State was picked over the Tigers despite losing to Clemson three times by a combined 65 points. The Tigers finished three spots higher in the ACC standings than the Wolfpack, won two more conference games and beat them by 25 points in Raleigh a few weeks back and by 26 points in last week’s ACC Tournament.
“This has been a very challenging time, but again, we had chances to take care of our business and we didn’t,” Brownell said. “We left it up to the committee. Unfortunately, the metrics are more important than common sense or head-to-head and watching games.”
Pittsburgh also got in over the Tigers, though Clemson’s metrics were overall better than the Panthers’ and they beat them head-to-head in Pittsburgh.
“I still, admittedly, feel like they made a mistake,” Brownell said. “It is hard to listen to some of things that are said. Basically, it was all metrics. That is what it looks like. The problem with that is that there are so many metrics that they just pick and choose. I said this a month ago that they just pick and choose whatever they want.”
The Clemson coach pointed out that in 2018-’19, when the Tigers just missed getting in the NCAA Tournament, the selection committee said they did not have enough good wins, though they did not have any bad losses.
This year, Clemson had six wins over teams that made the tournament field. Brownell brought up the line ESPN announcer Jay Bilas said four years ago on why the Tigers did not deserve to be in the tournament at that time.
“Who did you beat and where did you beat them?”
That stuck with the Clemson coach. This year, Clemson won at NC State, won at Pitt, won at Virginia Tech, beat Duke at home, beat Penn State at home and won neutral site games against Richmond, California and the Wolfpack in the ACC Tournament.
“Unfortunately, we lost a couple of games that we probably should not have. We put it in the committee’s hands, and when you do that then sometimes you are not always going to get the call you want,” Brownell said. “It is like being at the end of the game and you are putting the ball in the referee’s hand at the end of a game.
“That is something we do not like. We rather control things we can control.”
The hardest thing for Brownell was seeing the disappointment in his players’ eyes, especially his seniors.
“My heart hurts for Hunter Tyson, Brevin Galloway, the seniors. They don’t get another chance,” he said. “What they sacrificed and how hard they worked to put our team in this position to get a chance that is the part, as a coach, that you see that really, that just hurts you personally to have to watch that and watch those guys suffer a little bit.
“Having said that, I do think we will rally. I think our guys will hopefully shake it off today. Yesterday was tough and we can understand why. But today we will try to turn our attention to Morehead State.”
Clemson will play Morehead State Wednesday in the first round of the NIT. Tip is set for 7 p.m. at Littlejohn Coliseum in Clemson.
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