Heading into the ACC Tournament Clemson is teetering on the bubble. Some experts believe that Clemson is on the right side of the bubble, some believe they are on the wrong side. Fortunately, Clemson controls their own fate. But, it wouldn't hurt to get a little help along the way. Lets breakdown the match-ups, including what I believe needs to happen for Clemson to make the NCAA tournament
UNC Side of the Bracket
8 Virginia vs 9 Miami: UVA was able to close the season with wins over NC State and Maryland to get to 7-9. This was a surprising finish for UVA after a lot of personnel turnover in the offseason/midseason. Miami finished at 6-10. The winner gets UNC. I think Miami could give UNC a tougher game due to Reggie Johnson's presence inside.
5 Boston College vs 12 Wake Forest: This is the game Clemson fans should be interested in. Clemson needs BC to win this game, as a win against Wake Forest wouldn't do anything to enhance our profile. A win over Wake would actually hurt our profile. BC is the match-up that we need. BC sits squarely on the bubble with Clemson. If it comes down to it, a season sweep of the Eagles should serve as a tiebreaker. They say beggars can't be choosers, but I'd prefer for Wake to give BC all they can handle before falling short in the end. Clemson has the benefit of a first round bye and it would be nice if they could use it to their advantage by playing a BC team with tired legs on Friday afternoon.
Lets assume BC wins against Wake. BC is actually a favorable matchup for Clemson. They lack an interior presence and Devin Booker and Jerai Grant should have a field day inside. BC's best player is Reggie Jackson. He is a very skilled player, but Demontez Stitt is a good defender and has the quickness to stay in front of him.
Duke side of the Bracket
7 Maryland vs 10 NC State: Maryland's a better team, but they seem to have quit on the season. This match-up doesn't have any impact on Clemson. Neither team is making it to the NCAA tournament and the winner is going to get their packing slip the following day against Duke.
6 Virginia Tech vs 11 Georgia Tech: This game, however, does have an impact on Clemson. Clemson is battling Virginia Tech for a spot in the tournament. A loss here would be Virginia Tech's 3rd in a row and would complete an epic collapse after their win against Duke. The more bubble teams that are 1 and done in their conference tournaments can only help to enhance our chances of making the big dance. An added bonus to a Virginia Tech loss would be the tears in Seth Greenberg's eyes when his team is passed over yet again. The winner faces FSU, who is already a lock to make the tournament. If Virginia Tech happens to win 2 games, they will more than likely find themselves in the tournament.
What does it all mean?
As it stands right now, I believe a win over BC gets us into the tournament. We've already received some help this week with ODU winning the CAA, Butler winning the Horizon, and Nebraska and Baylor being 1 and done. It would be nice to see us get a signature win over UNC in the semifinals, but it may not be necessary this year with such a weak bubble. We'll continue to monitor Clemson's status as these conference tournaments shakeout.
I'm interested in hearing your thoughts on the other conference tournaments and what you think Clemson needs to do to get in.