Clemson Out Of NCAAs, No. 1 Seed In NIT South Bracket

by - Correspondent -

Clemson did not make the NCAA's Field of 65, their struggles after a 17-0 start proving too much of an obstacle to overcome.

The Tigers are the No. 1 seed in the South Region of the NIT, and will open the tournament against No. 8 East Tennessee State. The teams will meet at 6 p.m. Wednesday at Littlejohn Coliseum. The game will be televised by ESPNU.

The teams last met in the regular season a year ago, when the Tigers won 80-72.

Head coach Oliver Purnell, speaking to the media Sunday night, said he still thinks his team deserved an NCAA Tournament bid.

"Yes I do, but at the same time I understand why we didn't get in," he said. "There were several outstanding teams, we didn't finish strong and didn't win a game in the ACC tournament. But I held out hope all the way through the final bracket."

Now, he said, he's excited about the opportunity presented by the NIT. He hopes his team feels the same way.

"When I watched the ESPN2 NIT show and saw we were the No. 1 seed in the South region I started to get very excited about the tournament," Purnell said. "I thought they did a good job of showing how important this tournament really is.

"The important thing for us is get over the disappointment of not making the NCAA tournament and look forward to the opportunity we have in the NIT. Being the No. 1 seed shows the committee had a lot of respect for what we did this year."

According to ESPN's selection show Clemson will have home court advantage throughout the NIT as long as it continues to win, up to the Final Four in New York City. However, Sunday night school SID Tim Bourret said that might not actually be the case by the time the third round rolls around.

The Clemson-ETSU winner plays the winner of the Appalachian State vs. Ole Miss game.

The ACC got seven teams in the NCAA Tournament:

- Maryland as a No. 4 seed in the Midwest (vs. No. 13 Davidson);

- Georgia Tech as a No. 10 seed in the Midwest (vs. No. 7 UNLV);

- Virginia Tech as a No. 5 seed in the West (vs. No. 12 Illinois);

- Duke as a No. 6 seed in the West (vs. No. 11 Virginia Commonwealth);

- Boston College as a No. 7 seed in the East (vs. No. 12 Texas Tech) ;

- Virginia as a No. 4 seed in the South (vs. No. 13 Albany);

- And of course North Carolina as the No. 1 seed in the East (vs. No. 16 Eastern Kentucky).

Besides Clemson, N.C. State and Florida State made the NIT field, meaning only Miami and Wake Forest out of the ACC didn't make postseason play.

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