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September 25, 2023

Clemson prepares for ACC Tournament with March Madness hopes on the line

Ashleigh Snyder // Contributor

Clemson forward/center PJ Hall high-fives Clemson guard Brevin Galloway. 

It’s the final stretch for head coach Brad Brownell and his team and perhaps the last chance for the NCAA Tournament. 
The Clemson men’s basketball team will open up its postseason play in the ACC Tournament on Thursday night when it plays NC State in hopes of making its case for a bid to March Madness. 
After last Saturday’s win over Notre Dame in the season finale, the Tigers (22-9, 14-6 ACC) earned the No. 3 seed in the ACC Tournament, granting a double-bye and clinching a quarterfinal spot in the tournament. The No. 3 seed is the program’s highest spot in the ACC Tournament since 2008, according to the ACC. 
Although it finished as a top-three seed in a Power 5 conference, the team still has work to do, as Clemson is currently on the outside looking in most bracket projections. However, when speaking to the media on Monday, several Tigers believe they should be in the tournament already. 
For forward/center PJ Hall, he believes the Tigers “have done enough” this season. 
“I think we have a good enough resume, for sure,” Hall said. “Especially with those games that we have played, and the margins of victory that we have had; the consistency we have had over large periods.”
Despite the lack of support from outsiders, senior captain Hunter Tyson is optimistic about his team’s chances this week in making a deep run in the ACC Tournament.
“I feel like, as a team, we are in a really good spot right now,” Tyson said. “I feel like we are clicking on all levels, so I feel good about our chances this week.”
However, the Tigers will have to go through this week without the presence of Alex Hemenway. The senior guard had an emergency appendectomy early Monday morning and will miss at least a week. 
“I thought he was just starting to turn a corner back a little bit,” Brownell said of Hemenway’s injury. “He’s had a tough year. He’s just had a lot of tough injuries, and it’s unfortunate.”
The injury makes way for underclassmen Chauncey Wiggins and Josh Beadle, who have played key minutes throughout the season.
When asked about what the key was in making a deep run this week, Brownell believed that “consistency” was the answer.
“It’s going to take four or five guys playing well,” Brownell added. “I just think it’s going to take the full complement of guys to win three games in a row.”
With all starters scoring double-digits in their last game, the Tigers will look to take this momentum into Greensboro, North Carolina, where the tournament will be held.
“I look forward to going to the ACC Tournament,” Brownell said. “It’s been a good year, and I’d like to continue it for as long as we can.”
Tipoff between the Tigers and the Wolfpack is set for 9:30 p.m. EST, and the game will be broadcasted on ESPN/ESPN2.

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Griffin Barfield, Asst. Sports Editor
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