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Clemson men’s basketball extends its season with NIT bid

The Clemson Tigers men’s basketball team (17-15, 6-12) will continue its 2016-2017 season by way of the National Invitation Tournament (NIT), as the Tigers were selected as a two seed in the 2017 NIT on Sunday night.

After lingering on the bubble for the latter half of the regular season, Clemson finally had its bubble burst after its loss to Duke in the second round of the ACC Tournament last week. As a result of that defeat, the Tigers stood no chance of receiving a berth into the NCAA Tournament and instead received an at-large selection into the NIT.

A 32-team tournament, the NIT is a second-tier tournament just under the NCAA Tournament in terms of prestige. The tournament is bracketed into four eight-team quadrants. The Tigers are the two seed in the quadrant that features Iowa as the top seed. The games of the first three rounds are hosted by the higher-seeded team, and the semifinals and the championship game are played at Madison Square Garden in New York.

Clemson will have an opportunity to play as many as three more games at Littlejohn Coliseum, and, considering its solid track record in the tournament, could very well play in Madison Square Garden in the coming weeks. Clemson was a semifinalist in the 2014 NIT and the runner-up in the 1999 and 2007 NITs.  However, the Tigers have never won the event in its entirety, which will provide them with motivation to do so this time around.

Having won 12 straight home games in the NIT, Clemson will look to extend that impressive streak when it opens tournament action on Tuesday night with a home matchup against the Oakland Golden Grizzlies. Featuring a high-flying offense, Oakland will not be an easy opponent for Clemson.  The 24-8 Grizzlies won the regular season title in the Horizon League this year and, after falling in their conference tournament, earned an automatic bid into the NIT because of it.
Opening tip is set for 8 p.m. on Tuesday, March 14 in Littlejohn Coliseum.

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