Clemson Does Not Receive NCAA Tournament Bid

Finishing third in the ACC regular season standings and advancing to the semifinals of the conference tournament, plus impressive wins over Duke, NC State, Pittsburgh and Penn State along the way was not enough to get the Clemson men’s basketball team into the NCAA Tournament Field.

The Tigers were left out of the tournament Sunday, despite a 23-10 overall record and a 14-6 mark in the ACC. They are the first ACC team to finish No. 3 in the league’s standings and not make the NCAA Tournament field since Virginia in 2000. That Virginia team was 9-7 in ACC play and 19-11 overall when they missed the tournament.

They are also the first top 4 team in the ACC not to receive an at-large bid since the 2012-’13 Cavaliers.

Clemson will now wait for its consolation prize when the NIT Field is announced later this evening. Obviously, the NIT is not where the Tigers want to be this postseason.

“If you look at some of the games we played this year, how we played on the road, how we played with our backs on the ropes late in games and finished, there’s not a doubt in my mind that we’re one of the best teams in the country and belong in the (NCAA) tournament,” forward PJ Hall said.

 What cost Clemson its at-large bid were Quad 4 losses to Loyola Chicago on a neutral floor and a loss at Louisville. The Tigers also had Quad 3 losses at South Carolina and at Boston College.

Though Clemson beat Penn State, who played for the Big Ten Championship, and lost a close game to Iowa on a neutral floor, its overall non-conference schedule was weak, sitting at 315. The Tigers were the last of the first four out, joining Oklahoma State, Rutgers and North Carolina.

However, the Tigers won 10 ACC games, including a 26-point win over NC State, by double digits and six of those were by 20 points or more. They also beat the Wolfpack by 25 points in Raleigh, and their win over Pitt was also on the road.

Clemson finished the year with four Quad 1 and Quad 2 wins on the road, more than any other team that was on the bubble. Three of those wins were against Quad 1 teams.

“I think what’s impressive about it is four of them are away from home. I think that’s significant,” head coach Brad Brownell said. “I think you have to prove that you can beat good teams, and some teams do it at home. If you do it away from home and if you do it — you know, consistency versus the amount of games you get to play. Unfortunately, our league didn’t have quite as many and some of the non-conference games, tournaments, and things we tried to schedule, the teams didn’t play quite as well.”

When the Tigers did get their opportunity to play good teams, they performed well. They posted a 7-6 record against Quad 1 and Quad 2 opponents, the best amongst teams on the bubble.

“The games we got to play, we were .500 or better in those Quad 1 games,” Brownell said. “There are teams that they have in the tournament ahead of us, some in our league, that we’ve beaten. Some multiple times. Others at their place. In other leagues we’ve beaten teams.

“So, I think just for those reasons, if you’re truly looking for the 68 best teams, we’re one of the 68 best teams. Finishing third in this league, too, by the way.”

However, the NCAA Selection Committee did not see it that way, and left Clemson out of the field.

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