CLEMSON, S.C. — Clemson men’s basketball coach Brad Brownell made his case to the NCAA Selection Committee following Saturday’s 87-64 win over Notre Dame.
“I just think if you look at who we have beaten and who we can play with, there is no question we can go into the tournament and win games, win multiple games,” he said.
Heading into Saturday’s game, the Tigers (22-9, 14-6 ACC) had an NCAA NET ranking of 64. The NET is one of the metrics the selection committee uses when deciding who it will extend a bid to play in the 68-field tournament.
Clemson finished up a regular season that should have been more than enough to earn a bid to the Big Dance. Granted the Tigers did have some head-scratching losses to Louisville, Boston College, South Carolina and Loyola Chicago, but they set a record for ACC wins in a season (14). They finished third in the league standings (the first time has happened since 2008) and they have wins over NC State, Pitt, Duke and Penn State – all teams that many believe will make the NCAA Tournament.
By the way, Clemson also beat NC State, for a second time, on the road by 25 points, and nine of its 14 ACC wins were by 13 or more points. Both wins against the Wolfpack were by 14 or more points.
“We had a lot of games where we beat people handedly. Which I think speaks to the quality of our play,” Brownell said. “We have had a couple of bad nights… We have a veteran team that is good. It has gotten better. PJ Hall was a shell of himself, probably for most of the first six weeks of the season and is completely different now.
“I don’t know if all of those things will be considered, but I think we have a very good team that has played some high-level basketball a lot of times this year.”
The Tigers’ 22 wins this season tied Brownell’s 2017-’18 squad for the most regular season wins in his Clemson tenure.
“I think we have had a terrific year. I think we have gotten better,” Brownell said. “We have had some injuries at some inopportune times that have caused us some problems. But we have a lot of performances like tonight. I know at one point, we had four Quad 1 wins, and three of them are on the road. Winning away from home is significant and to do it like we did, I think is impressive.”
The question is, does the NCAA Selection Committee think Clemson has done enough?
Clemson hopes to take it out of the committee’s hands by winning the ACC Tournament and earning the league’s automatic bid. The Tigers’ quest to do that begins next Thursday in Greensboro, N.C., in the quarterfinals.
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