|by Mickey Plyler - Radio Host - Tuesday, February 10, 2015 9:42 AM||
Tonight in Littlejohn Clemson's basketball team has its best opportunity to make a statement and gain momentum in talks with post-season play. In the words of this short-sighted fanatic, "This is the biggest game of the year."
Clemson enters tonight's contest at 6-5 in the Atlantic Coast Conference. There is a huge difference between 7-5 and 6-6. Clemson hosts Virginia Tech this Saturday in Littlejohn and the Tigers will be big favorites, so the way I look at it, Tuesday is a major chance to make a statement. If the Tigers lose to Notre Dame tonight, a win over Virginia Tech gets them over .500 again. However, an upset of the Irish tonight means Clemson has a chance to climb to 8-5 on Saturday if they can take care of the Hokies.
This game is also big in terms of seeding in the Atlantic Coast Conference. The Tigers enter tonight's game ranked seventh in the ACC at 6-5. Virginia has a stronghold for the top spot at 9-1. Duke's win at Florida State last night meant the Blue Devils improved to 8-3 and tied with UNC. The Irish enter tonight's game at 9-3 in the league with Louisville currently at 7-3. Those five teams have been ranked almost the entire season and have separated themselves from the rest of the league.
Syracuse is 6-4, but the Orange recently announced a self-imposed post-season ban and will not participate in the ACC or NCAA tournaments. Therefore Clemson moves up to sixth at this point.
The Tigers are trying to stay ahead of Pittsburgh (5-5), NC State (5-5), Florida State (5-7) Wake Forest (3-8), Georgia Tech (3-9), Boston College (1-9) and Virginia Tech (1-10).
The teams seeded 10-14 will have to play in the first round of the ACC tournament. Teams seeded 5-9 get one ACC tournament bye, while the top four teams in the league get two byes. At this stage, Clemson seems to be in great shape for a first round bye but two byes seem like a very long shot.
A sixth place finish in the ACC would give the Tigers some clout in the NCAA tournament selection process, but Clemson is missing some key components in its resume. Perhaps the biggest void at this time is a win over a marquee opponent. A win over Notre Dame tonight would give Clemson its best win of the year. It would be the kind of win that gets the selection committee's attention. It would also help the RPI numbers.
Finally, tonight is a big game for momentum. Notre Dame is coming off of a 30-point loss at Cameron this past weekend and the Irish have lost two of its last three. They need a win in the worst way. Clemson is coming off of a loss at Miami that broke a rare four game ACC win streak.
So tonight's game is a huge conference game for both teams. Wait, Notre Dame is in the ACC right? I get that confused sometimes.
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