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Men and women’s basketball postseason projections

Men’s Basketball

Coming off of a Sweet 16 run in the NCAA tournament last season, the expectations were high for Clemson coming into the 2018-2019 season, but after some early season struggles, the Tigers find themselves in a fight to secure a bid to the big dance. Last season, nine ACC teams ACmade the tournament, with the lowest conference record being 9-9.

Clemson currently sits at 5-5 in conference with upcoming games against Miami, Louisville, Florida State, Boston College, Pittsburgh, North Carolina, Notre Dame and Syracuse. Interestingly enough, four of those teams (Miami, Pittsburgh, Notre Dame and Boston College) currently sit below Clemson in ACC standings, while the other four (Florida State, North Carolina, Louisville and Syracuse) are above Clemson. If Clemson were to win the four they will be favored in and lose the four in which they won’t be favored, it would put them at 9-9, right on the bubble for a NCAA tournament bid.

In many tournament projections, Clemson sits in the “first four out” or the “next four out,” which means that the Tigers are just an upset or two away from being in the tournament. Clemson will need to win two of the four games in which they are not favored, along with winning all four they are favored in. That would make Clemson 11-7 in conference, the exact record they had last year when they made the tournament as a five seed.

After upsetting Virginia Tech last Saturday, Clemson jumped into a lot of conversations about moving into the tournament, but for now they sit just outside the field of 68.

“Clemson might be the hottest team in our conference right now,” said Virginia Tech head coach Buzz Williams in a press conference after the loss to Clemson. He has a point. Since losing to N.C. State on a buzzer-beating three, Clemson has now won four straight games. The Tigers are playing tenacious defense and making enough shots to win games. In order to make the tournament, Clemson will need to win at least five of their next eight games and also make some noise in the ACC tournament.

Women’s Basketball

The Clemson Women’s basketball team is having a record year. They have won six conference games, the most since 2003. Earlier in the season, they beat a ranked opponent for the first time since 2012 and then proceeded to beat another for back-to-back wins over top 25 teams.

Clemson is currently seeded at number nine in the Portland, OR region. The last time the Clemson Women’s team made any postseason play was in the 2003-2004 season when they made the WNIT and in 2001-2002 when the Lady Tigers made the NCAA tournament. The 2001-2002 season was the last of seven straight appearances in the NCAA tournament and the fourteenth in fifteen years for then-Head Coach Jim Davis.

Amanda Butler has made the Tigers a respectable program once again. Currently in eighth place in the ACC, the Tigers will need to hold that seed to make the tournament. Clemson just recently went through a tough stretch of conference play by losing four of their last five games, but will only play one more ranked opponent to end the season. This season has been a special one for the Tigers, and it should continue to be one. As long as Clemson does not get upset the rest of the season and makes a run in the ACC tournament, they should be a lock-in for an NCAA tournament bid.

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