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Clemson Basketball Needs a Big Finish

The NET correctly predicted a major slowdown for the Tigers. Now, they badly need a hot finish to make the NCAA tournament.

At one point this season, Clemson was 10-1 and leading in the ACC standings. Clemson fans were rightly excited, but the NET rankings and other advanced analytics systems saw something fans did not. They saw a weak non-conference schedule that yielded just one Quad 2 win (zero Quad 1 wins), and two horrible Quad 4 losses. They saw poor defensive efficiency and a start to ACC play that avoided the conference’s toughest road trips (i.e., Virginia, Duke, Miami, UNC, and NC State).

Clemson was knocked off kilter by injuries to several key guards, but now they are back and the team is continuing to slide. Clemson has lost three straight. Their resume still needs another big win and can’t sustain another ugly loss. Here are their seven resume wins:

Below are their seven losses. Their three Quad 1 losses aren’t killers, but two of them coming in blowout fashion is sub-optimal. The bigger issue is the three Quad 3 and 4 losses.

Clemson enters a critical stretch where they must avoid losses to lowly ranked teams while finding a way to earn resume-building road wins. Entering the season, I suggested 13-7 was the ceiling for this team. They’re poised to push past that, but the difference between 14-6 and 15-5 may determine if they make the NCAA tournament.

The past three games have been a painful reminder that advanced stats usually win out over a large sample size. KenPom now projects Clemson to finish 14-6 after earlier having them at 15-5. If the Tigers can rally and win three straight it’ll set-up two epic road games that likely will determine if they make the NCAA tournament this season.

For more on this, check out the video breakdown below: