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Tigers miss double-bye in ACC Tournament, to play on Wednesday

Toby Corriston
Clemson center PJ Hall (24) attempts a shot over a Pittsburgh defender in the Tigers’ win over the Panthers on Feb. 27 at Littlejohn Coliseum.

This past weekend marked the end of the regular season across NCAA basketball, with the Clemson Tigers set to begin their postseason play on Wednesday night in the ACC Tournament at the Capital One Arena in Washington, D.C.

The Tigers (21-10, 11-9 ACC) will find out who they will be playing on Tuesday, as they will face the winner of Boston College and Miami, which play at 7 p.m., in the second round.

While the start of ACC play was not friendly to the team as it began conference play with a 2-4 start, the Tigers finished the season strong, responding with a 6-2 run in the month of February to climb back up to the top cohort of the conference.

However, the season ended with somewhat of a setback, as Clemson lost its final regular game over the weekend to the Wake Forest Demon Deacons in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. The game saw 12 lead changes between the two squads en route to the loss.

“I thought that was a high-level basketball game,” Clemson head coach Brad Brownell said after Saturday’s game. “Both teams had some guys out there making terrific plays. Defensively, we weren’t good enough.”

With the loss, as well as certain results across other ACC games on Saturday, the Tigers fell from fourth place in the ACC regular season standings to sixth place, which puts them out of the ACC double-bye contention. Following Pittsburgh’s win over NC State in their game, the Panthers were able to jump Clemson for the No. 4 spot in the tournament.

Regardless, Clemson still has a great chance of making a deep run in the tournament. Out of the two opponents that they could play first, the Tigers have defeated both Boston College and Miami by more than 10 points. Clemson did lose to the Hurricanes by 13 early in ACC play.

Miami is on a nine-game losing streak, while the Eagles have won two of their last six games.

If Clemson wins on Wednesday night, it will then play Virginia, the No. 3 seed in the ACC. The two teams met once at Littlejohn Coliseum this season, with Clemson forward Jack Clark narrowly missing on a 3-point attempt as time expired to give the Cavaliers a one-point win over the Tigers on the road.

While revenge is a great motivator for the Tigers, Virginia has been in a tough stretch as of late, going 3-4 in its final seven games. The Cavaliers were previously on an eight-game win streak, which ultimately helped them secure a double-bye in the tournament.

Other teams that are on Clemson’s side of the bracket are Syracuse, NC State, Louisville and Duke, the latter of which holds the No. 2 seed. North Carolina holds the No. 1 seed in the tournament, which the Tigers will only play if both squads reach the final.

With Clemson’s roster being full of postseason experience, this week and the ensuing NCAA Tournament could be the final time that fans see players like PJ Hall and Chase Hunter wearing the orange and regalia.

“We got some big things coming,” Hunter said after Clemson’s win over Syracuse last Tuesday. “I want our fans to stay with us. We are about to go on a big run.”

The Tigers will tip off their first game in the ACC Tournament at 9:30 p.m. on Wednesday night. If they continue to win, they will play another game each day until Saturday, when the championship is set to be played at the Capital One Arena.

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About the Contributors
Griffin Barfield
Griffin Barfield, Asst. Sports Editor
Toby Corriston, Asst. Photo Editor
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