SAN DIEGO — Clemson is set to play it first NCAA Tournament game in seven years when it plays New Mexico State in the first round tonight at 9:57 p.m. on the east coast.
The Tigers, the No. 5 seed in the Midwest Regional, and New Mexico State, the No. 12 seed, will play at Viejas Arena at San Diego State University in San Diego. The winner will move on to play the College of Charleston-Auburn winner in the second round on Sunday, while the loser’s season comes to an end.
Clemson is looking for its first win in the first round of the tournament since the 1996-’97 season. The Tigers did win a tournament game in 2011, but that was a First Four Game. The Aggies have not won an NCAA Tournament game since 1993.
CLEMSON (23-9, 11-7 ACC) vs. NEW MEXICO STATE (28-5, 12-2 WAC)
Tipoff: 9:57 p.m. ET
Arena: Viejas Arena at Aztec Bowl (12,414)
Radio: CTN (Don Munson-pbp; Tim Bourret-color)
TV: TruTV (Carter Blackburn-pbp; Deb Antonelli-color; Sideline-John Schriffen)
- Clemson and New Mexico State have never met in program history.
- This marks the second trip to the NCAA Tournament for Clemson under head coach Brad Brownell. The Tigers went in 2011.
- A No. 5 seed is the highest for the Tigers since they were also the fifth seed in 2008. A 75-69 loss to Villanova in Tampa, Fla.
- Marcquise Reed, Mark Donnal and David Skara are the lone Tigers with NCAA Tournament experience. Reed played 2 games in 2015 Tournament during his freshman season with Robert Morris. Skara played one game in 2015.
- This marks Donnal’s third NCAA Tournament trip after making two with Michigan (Five games played). Reached Sweet 16 in 2017.
CU Series W-L record: FIRST MEETING
Streak: FIRST MEETING
- Head coach Brad Brownell has taken three schools to the NCAA Tournament, including twice during his tenure at Clemson (2011; 2018). It marks his fifth trip to the tournament.
- He took each of his schools to the NCAA Tournament in his first season. (UNC Wilmington, 2003; Wright State, 2007; Clemson, 2011).
- When coach Brownell took Clemson to the tournament in 2011 it was the first time that a head coach at Clemson took a Tiger team in his first year.
- The Tigers’ last victory in the NCAA Tournament came in the First Four game in 2011 – a 70-52 win over UAB (Alabama-Birmingham).
- Marcquise Reed (two games) and Mark Donnal (five games) and David Skara (one game) are the lone Tigers that have NCAA Tournament experience.
- Donnal has averaged 3.0 points per contest in five games, while Reed posted 20.5 points in two games, including 22 against Duke in the second round in 2015. Skara scored two points in one game in 2015.
- Reed is the first Clemson player to have at least 500 points, 100 rebounds, 100 assists and 50 steals in the same season since Billy Williams in 1979-80.
SCOUTING NEW MEXICO STATE
- The Aggies are led by guard Zach Lofton, who is averaging 19.8 points and 5.1 rebounds per game.
- Guard Jemerrio Jones (6-5, 200) is averaging 11 points and 13.2 rebounds per game. The senior had five 20-rebound games this season.
- New Mexico State ranks last in the NCAA Tournament field in free throw shooting, making just 64.3 percent.
- The Aggies shoot just 33 percent from three-point range, but 46 percent from the field overall.
- New Mexico State is making its 21st all-time appearance in the NCAA Tournament. The Aggies are 10-25 all-time in the tournament.