|Tuesday, February 9, 2016, 9:39 AM- -|
Clemson's road to the NCAA tournament has changed tremendously since Friday when Louisville announced its self-imposed post-season ban. Going into the weekend, I liked the Tigers chances. After two losses in 72 hours, the Tigers' chances are on life support.
The ACC tournament format changed as a result of it being a 14 team tournament instead of a 15-team affair. Four teams still receive two byes, but now teams seeded five through ten receive one bye. Clemson is almost assured of one bye, but now the goal is a little easier for a shot at two byes since Louisville is no longer a part of the equation.
The Clemson-Notre Dame was big for both teams last night. Louisville and Duke also played last night with the Blue Devils grabbing a huge win at home. Current standings in the league have Louisville at 8-3, but again the Cards are out of the conversation. North Carolina is 8-2. Virginia is 8-3 while Miami is 7-3. Notre Dame improved to 8-4 while Clemson fell to 7-5. Others in contention for a top four spot are Duke (7-4), Pittsburgh (6-4), Florida State (6-5) and Syracuse (6-5).
At this point, Clemson is not an NCAA tournament team. The Tigers don't deserve a bid, and we need to remember the early losses and the fact that the Tigers are 14-10 overall. At this point, Notre Dame, Syracuse, Duke and Florida State are playing better and are more deserving.Tall Task
One advantage Clemson has at this point is the schedule. The Tigers have three home games and three road games remaining. Home tilts are against Georgia Tech, Boston College and Virginia. The Tigers travel to NC State, Georgia Tech and Boston College.
Four of the final six games are against the Yellow Jackets and Eagles who have a combined ACC record of 2-18. Tech is 2-8, and Boston College is 0-10.
A road game in Raleigh against a 2-9 NC State team is not a gimme, but it is winnable. The toughest remaining regular season game is the final home game of the year against 8-3 Virginia.
My guess is a 12-6 record in the conference would be good enough to make the Big Dance. However, with back-to-back losses, the Tigers now have to win five of the last six to get to 12-6.
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