Seeds 2-11 are still up in the air for next week’s ACC Tournament
With a win tonight in its home finale against Florida State, 18th-ranked Clemson can put itself in a tie with North Carolina for third place in the ACC Standings with one game to go.
There are a lot of different scenarios that could play out in the days to come as the regular season comes to a close and seeding for next week’s ACC Basketball Tournament in Brooklyn, N.Y., takes shape. Right now, seeds 2-11 are still up for grabs and as many as four teams could share second place depending on what happens.
Seven teams are still fighting for the coveted two-day bye in the tournament. The only team that is set is top-ranked Virginia. The Cavaliers have locked down the No. 1 seed with an impressive 15-1 record thus far in ACC play.
“Virginia has separated themselves,” Clemson head coach Brad Brownell said. “I think almost every year it is this way. There are so many good teams that it is hard to separate yourself. That is why what Virginia did is so good.
“You are going to go through this league and have losses because of the challenge to win on the road and protect your home court is great. We are at nine, ten or even eleven teams that are being talked about again at making the tournament. It is extremely competitive. We have great coaching, unbelievable talents and good home environments. It is hard to be successful. Going 9-9 in this league is really good.”
However, Brownell says he and his team cannot concern themselves with all the scenarios and possible seeding right now. Though the Tigers want to be one of those top four teams in next week’s ACC Tournament, right now they just want to focus on the task at hand … trying to find a way to beat a Florida State team that is fighting for a bid to the NCAA Tournament.
“We are just trying to win games and see where we fall,” Brownell said. “I’m not one of these coaches who has his head in the sand all the time and says he does not ever watch any other games. I don’t watch games at home at night start to finish, but I do watch games certainly. But, I’m not really concerned whether it is fourth, fifth, sixth, seventh, eighth (seed) or whatever we end up.
“I want to win as many as we can to put us in the best position for the ACC and the NCAA Tournaments. Obviously, our guys have a chance to break a school record (for ACC wins) with 11 wins so I think that will be a nice touch for this group.”
With a win over Florida State, the Tigers (21-7) can improve to 11-6 in the ACC. It will not only be the most wins for a Clemson team in ACC play, but it will match the 1951-’52 team’s record for victories in a conference. That squad went 11-4 in the SoCon that year.
“It is very difficult to be highly successful in this league,” Brownell said. “Parity is so much different. I would be interested to know is it that way in all the other sports in the ACC or is it more basketball. I do not follow enough of the other sports closely enough to know if it is that way in some of the other ones. I’m sure it is a little bit.
“In ours, it is just remarkable that there are this many teams this good all the time.”
Because the ACC is so good it pays off for some of its members in the last week of the regular season when other conferences have teams jockeying for position and trying to earn an NCAA bid. With its 10 ACC wins and 21 overall, Clemson has already assured itself of an NCAA Tournament bid regardless of what happens tonight or Saturday win it visits Syracuse.
“There are not that many teams in the country right now that are in the last week of their season and know they are in the NCAA Tournament, and we are really one of those,” Brownell said. “So for us not to be sweating bullets here in the last two weeks of the season, I’m extremely proud of our team. I can’t tell you how proud I am of our group. What we have been able to accomplish this year with what we have had to deal with, with injuries and setbacks on some things. Our guys have done unbelievably well.”
Team, ACC record, Overall Record
Virginia 15-1, 26-2
Duke 12-5, 24-6
UNC 11-6, 22-8
Clemson 10-6, 21-7
NC State 10-6, 20-9
Miami 10-7, 21-8
Virginia Tech 10-7, 21-9
Louisville 9-7, 19-10
Florida State 8-8, 19-9
Syracuse 7-9, 18-11
Notre Dame 7-9, 17-12
Boston College 6-10, 16-13
Georgia Tech 4-12, 11-18
Wake Forest 4-13, 11-18
Pitt 0-17, 8-22