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Clemson not a fan of ACC’s new tournament format

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — As a guy who is just in his second year in the Atlantic Coast Conference, Clemson head coach Monte Lee is still trying to figure things out.

When he is on conference calls with the conference or when they have their coaches’ meetings, he just tries to listen and not say a whole lot out of respect to the other coaches that have been around the league a lot longer than he has.

However, Lee is probably going to speak up a little more when discussions come up this off-season about the ACC’s new format it is using in this year’s baseball tournament.

At Louisville Slugger Field in Louisville, Ky., the ACC began a new way of hosting its tournament. It’s a format that eliminated all three of its losing teams from the first day of the tournament on Tuesday, though all three teams—Georgia Tech, Boston College and Clemson—still have one more game to play before they can go home.

“I can’t quite figure this thing out,” Lee said on Wednesday prior to practice at Louisville’s Jim Patterson Stadium.

The ACC Tournament is still a pool-play tournament, but instead of having two brackets like it did from 2007-2016, where the two champions from each side played in the championship game, the conference moved it to a four-pod format this year, while adding two more teams to participate.

The way the tournament works teams that are seeded 5-12 are automatically eliminated from the tournament with one loss. To make matters worse, Clemson has to wait around Louisville for two days before it plays its next game again.

“I think any format you do, you are going to have your pros and cons,” Clemson pitcher Pat Krall said. “This one, after our first game, we are already out and we have to sit here and wait. For us, (Friday) is a big game because it does mean a lot, but I understand where people are coming from where we are sitting here and having to play a pointless game.

“But in other circumstances, like double elimination like the SEC Tournament, they have their cons too. You can have long games and have games starting late at night and then having to play again in the morning if you are in the loser’s bracket and stuff like that. I’ll leave that up to them and I’ll just keep playing.”

The Tigers, the fifth seed, will play No. 4 Virginia in a game that does not matter in regards to the ACC Tournament at 11 a.m., on Friday.

“It is a little perplexing when you play on a Tuesday and then you can’t play again until Friday,” Lee said. “I have always been the kind of guy that says here is the schedule and let’s go play. Whatever the schedule is, we are not going to worry about it and it is not going to bother me.

“I don’t complain. I’m not a complainer. And I tell the players the same thing.”

But Lee admits this year’s tournament is a little different from the tournaments in the past and he is sure once this year’s tournament is over the league will look at it again.

“I’m sure we will look at it as a league and see if this is something they definitely want to continue to do or are there some changes and maybe some little tweaks that need to be made,” Lee said. “I think that is definitely something that needs to be discussed as coaches and as a league after the conference tournament is over.”

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