NEW YORK — Though earning a double-bye in the Atlantic Coast Conference Basketball Tournament has it is advantages, it does not guarantee a victory into the semifinals.
Fourth-seed Clemson has not played since last Saturday and will appear to be well rested when it tips off from the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, N.Y., at 2 p.m. Thursday in the quarterfinal round of the ACC Tournament.
However, the Tigers (22-8) have had to wait to learn who their opponent will be, and it comes less than 24 hours before tip, as No. seed 12 seed Boston College upset No. 5 seed NC State, 91-87, Wednesday.
Clemson coaches Dick Bender and Antonio Reynolds Dean were at the Barclays Center scouting the BC-NC State game, while head coach Brad Brownell and assistant Steve Smith stayed back at the team hotel doing the same thing from a different point of view on television.
“We try to do as much as we can, but it is still an extremely unique situation,” Brownell told The Clemson Insider Wednesday after the Tigers wrapped up practice from Saint Francis Brooklyn College. “You are only twenty-four hours out from your game and you don’t exactly know who you are going to play so you just have to do the best you can.”
And there lies the advantage Boston College (19-14) has. Or does it?
The Eagles have already played two games in this year’s tournament. They beat No. 13 Georgia Tech on Tuesday. Will they be tired playing their third game in three days? Or will they be extremely confident and in rhythm?
“I coached in the MAC for six years,” Boston College head coach Jim Christian said after his team’s win over the Wolfpack. “In order to get to the tournament, you’ve got to win three games in a row. This (will be) the third game in a row.
“These guys, again, if the strategy is to wear them out, that’s not a good strategy, because I think if we wanted to play a doubleheader today, I think they’d go play again. This is March basketball. This is what it’s about. That’s what these guys live for.”
Boston College definitely was not tired against NC State, even though the Wolfpack had an extra day of rest. The Eagles shot 51 percent from the field overall and were 7-of-21 from three-point range. Guards Jerome Robinson and Ky Bowman were unstoppable at times.
Bowman got BC off with a great start, scoring 8 points in the first six minutes of the game, while Robinson got things going in the second half, dropping in 17 points after halftime. Robinson finished with 26 points, while Bowman added 24.
They showed no fatigue after NC State tied the game five different times in the last few minutes, either. Robinson hit a three-pointer with 1:35 to play that broke a tie game. After NC State tied the game again at 83, he again broke the tie with a nice dish inside to Nik Popovic with 53 seconds to play.
Robinson hit another jumper with 17 seconds to play to again break the tie. Bowman then added two free throws after an NC State miss, while Robinson hit two as well to seal the win.
“We are going to get as much rest as we can,” Christian said. “We have sports massage with us. We have every medical thing we have with us to get us ready, but it is really more mental than anything else. Let’s just get confident. Let’s stay confident, and I’m sure (Clemson is) excited to play.
“They’re playing for a lot of great things, and they’ve had a tremendous season.”
Another area BC might have an edge on Clemson is at the Barclay Center. The Eagles have played two games and practiced here on Monday. Because they came into town on Tuesday, the Tigers have not had an opportunity to shoot on the court, and they will not until they come out to warm up prior to the game.
“You want your guys to be comfortable and confident, and shooting is a big part of our team, really,” Brownell said. “We are not a dominant inside team. We do not score as many points around the rim as a lot of people so shooting is an important part of what we do. It is what it is. You cannot control that. It’s nice that a couple of guys have played in here before. It is a good environment.
“Certainly, it would nice to have a little bit more time to get in the arena, but I think they offered us eight o’clock in the morning shoot around time for thirty minutes and it is really just not worth doing that.”