Tigers not focused on early projections

Tigers not focused on early projections

Feature

Tigers not focused on early projections

Instead they continue to try and find ways to improve

Clemson is officially on the road to prosperity after landing as the No. 3 seed Sunday, as the NCAA Men’s Selection Committee revealed its top 16 seeds as they stand right now.

The Tigers are projected as the No. 9 overall seed in the field and would be the No. 3 seed in the Midwest Regional if the NCAA Tournament started this coming week.

However, as great as that was and the exposure Clemson’s basketball program got on CBS’s Bracket Preview Show Sunday, head coach Brad Brownell isn’t getting caught up in all the hype right now. It’s what happens when the real NCAA Tournament field is announced next month that matters.

“It’d be great in three weeks if we were a (No. 9) seed, and we really wouldn’t mind where we went,” he said as a guest on CBS. “So I’m really proud of the way our guys have played this year. We got off to a great start and certainly have a little work left to finish.”

The Tigers (20-4, 9-3 ACC) have a lot of work left to do, but it is obvious they are in a good position to be a high-seed in next month’s NCAA Tournament. Clemson is currently in second place in the ACC standings, a game and a half ahead of Duke and North Carolina.

Clemson will host Duke, who is the No. 7 overall seed at this time, a week from now at Littlejohn Coliseum. The Tigers also travel to Florida State to face the Seminoles on Wednesday.

They enter the new week on a four-game winning streak and ranked No. 4 in the current RPI standings. The committee also indicated on Sunday they will factor any win away from home the same as they do a road win.

That means Clemson’s has seven wins away from Littlejohn Coliseum to add to its resume, including a neutral site win at Florida. The Tigers also beat Ohio State, who is the No. 14 overall seed right now, in Columbus.

“I have not really studied all of that closely,” Brownell said after the win over Pittsburgh on Thursday night. “We are trying to play as well as we can play and keep our head down and find out who is next.”

So far, Clemson has done that. It’s coming off a 72-48 blowout of Pitt for its fourth straight victory. What makes the streak even more impressive is the fact they have done it without star forward Donte Grantham, who tore his ACL in the win over Notre Dame last month.

However, the Tigers have stayed focused on the task at hand, and find themselves in position to earn the highest seed of any Clemson team to make the NCAA Tournament.

“I think our guys have done a really good job of that,” Brownell said. “It’s not like we have this great margin for error that we can … we still have to play really well to win games. Fortunately for us, we have.

“But we can’t be looking and worrying about a lot of other things, I think. We can’t afford to take our eyes of the preparation that goes into trying to play well.”

The Clemson at Florida State game slated for Wednesday will tip off at 7 p.m.

Photo Credit: Joshua S. Kelly-USA TODAY Sports

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