Outside looking in?

by - Senior Writer -
Young is 15 points away from becoming one of the top 25 scorers in Clemson history.

CLEMSON – The NCAA brackets are rounding into shape, and the people at the NIT are already beginning to cast a hungry eye towards those teams that didn’t make the NCAA Tournament.

And, if the post-season started today, the Clemson Tigers would most likely be on the outside looking in, breaking a streak of four consecutive NCAA Tournament appearances. The last time the Tigers were shut out of postseason play came after the 2003-04 season when they finished 10-18 overall, 3-13 in Atlantic Coast Conference play.

As it stands today, the Tigers are on the bubble for the NIT with an RPI of 156. The only three times a Clemson team finished the season with an RPI in triple digits came during a three-year stretch 1999-2000 season thru the 2001-2002 when the Tigers finished at 168, 168 and 154 respectively.

Contributing to the low RPI for this season were losses early in the season to teams such as the College of Charleston (114 in RPI), Coastal Carolina (184), South Carolina (180), UTEP (148) and Hawaii (194).

The good news for the Tigers is that they have a chance to not only bolster their RPI but their postseason chances in the next four games – on the road at Georgia Tech, at home against N.C. State and Virginia Tech and on the road at Florida St.

That starts on Tuesday night when the Tigers (13-13, (5-7 ACC) travel to Atlanta to take on Georgia Tech (9-17, 2-10 ACC) in a 7 p.m. tipoff at Philips Arena.

The Yellow Jackets have lost nine of their last 10 games and 13 of their last 15, having beaten N.C. State on the road and Boston College at home in conference action this season. The Jackets were 3.5 seconds away from a victory at Virginia Tech last Saturday before a Dorenzo Hudson 3-point basket at the buzzer lifted the Hokies to a 74-73 win.

Tech is 1-6 this season at Philips Arena, one of two alternate home venues for the Yellow Jackets and the site of the ACC Tournament March 8-11.

Clemson, 13-13 overall and 5-7 in the ACC, comes to Atlanta on the heels of a 74-52 loss at North Carolina Saturday, which snapped a two-game winning streak for the Tigers. Clemson is 3-7 on the road this season, including just 1-5 in the ACC.

Clemson head coach Brad BrownellBrad Brownell
Head Coach
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told TigerNet Monday afternoon that he knows how important postseason play can be.

“A taste of the postseason can be good for guys,” Brownell said. “I certainly think guys appreciate that, and want to work for that. We hope to earn something here down stretch. We are cognizant of where we are. We know an at-large berth in the NCAA Tournament is not in the cards, and we would have to win the ACC Tourney if we want to go to the NCAA Tournament. The next thing for us is just to win as many games as we can, and play as well as we can, see what happens and go from there.”

He did say, however, that the topic isn’t one he broaches with his team.

“We just try to do what we have to do to win the next game and play well,” Brownell said. “We will keep our spirits good, and our mindset the right way so guys are excited about playing and competing. We want to put forth a good effort and try to tweak one or two things to make sure our team is getting better. We don’t talk about that other stuff a lot.”

Senior guard Andre YoungAndre Young
Sr. Guard
#11 5-9, 175
Albany, GA

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echoed his coach’s “one game at a time” sentiments.

“Right now we are just taking it one game at a time and trying to finish the season strong,” Young said. “What happens later or what happens right now, we just need to finish the season strong and focus on the ACC Tournament.”

The NIT takes 32 teams after the NCAA has selected its field of 68, and there are few hard criteria for the selection. The NIT is not required to take a team with a .500 or greater record, but to date all teams receiving invitations for the NIT have had .500 or greater records.


Site: Philips Arena (18,371)

Date: Tuesday, February 21, 2012

City: Atlanta, GA

Time: 7:00 PM

Radio: Clemson Tiger Sports Properties (Pete Yanity - play-by-play, Tim Bourret - color)

TV: RSN (Mike Hogewood - play-by-play, Cory Alexander - color)

Web: ESPN3


Overall: Clemson leads 60-59

at Clemson: Clemson leads 39-16

at Littlejohn: Clemson leads 32-8

at Georgia Tech: Georgia Tech leads 40-21

at Neutral: Georgia Tech leads 3-0

First Meeting: Clemson, 26-22, in 1912-13

Last Meeting: Clemson, 64-62, in 2011-12

Streak: Clemson has won four straight


• Clemson and Georgia Tech will play for the 120th time in the series on Tuesday, the second time of the 2011-12 season. The Tigers won the first matchup at Littlejohn Coliseum by a score of 64-62.

• Clemson has won two of the last three meetings over the Yellow Jackets in Atlanta, both at Alexander Memorial Coliseum. This will be the Tigers’ first game at Philips Arena since playing Georgia at the facility in the 2003-04 season.

• The Tigers are coming off their most lopsided loss in 60 games under second-year Head Coach Brad Brownell, a 22-point defeat at No. 8/7 North Carolina last Saturday.

• Clemson is seeking its second straight regular season sweep of Georgia Tech. The Tigers have not accomplished the feat versus the Yellow Jackets since the 1979-82 era when Clemson won six straight over Georgia Tech when they first entered the ACC.

• The Tigers have 100 steals through 12 conference games and lead the ACC with an average of 8.3 per game. Only Florida State forces more turnovers per game (15.2) than Clemson, who forces 15 per game by opponents.

• Clemson leads the ACC in turnover margin in all games (+2.4) and in ACC games (+4.2).

Tanner SmithTanner Smith
Sr. Guard
#5 6-5, 210
Alpharetta, GA

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is just three assists shy of 300 for his career. He leads the Tigers this season with four per game, third-best in the ACC.

• Smith has 18 assists and just four turnovers over Clemson’s last four games, a stretch of 137 minutes.

Milton JenningsMilton Jennings
Jr. Forward
#24 6-9, 225
Summerville, SC

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has made at least one three-pointer in four straight games, matching the longest streak of his career.

• Andre Young has made 25 out of 39 from three-point range in his career against Georgia Tech, a 64 percent clip. Both figures are highs for the senior against any ACC team.

• Young needs 17 three-pointers to pass former Clemson great Cliff Hammonds (244) for third all-time in school history.

• Young is 15 points away from becoming one of the top 25 scorers in Clemson history.

Catalin BaciuCatalin Baciu
Sr. Center
#10 7-2, 255

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needs two made field goals to double his career output his first three seasons combined (25).

Devin BookerDevin Booker
Jr. Forward
#31 6-8, 245
Whitmire, SC

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has scored nine or more points in eight straight outings for Clemson, the longest such streak of his career.

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