OMAHA, Neb. — For the first time in 20 years, the Clemson basketball team will play in the Sweet 16 as the No. 5 seed Tigers play top seed Kansas today in the Midwest Regional Semifinals at the CenturyLink Center in Omaha at 7:09 p.m.
“It’s just really a sweet situation for us, really happy for our seniors who have been through some things here with our program,” Clemson head coach Brad Brownell said. “I couldn’t be more excited about having the opportunity to play a great Kansas team.
“Bill (Self) has done an unbelievable job with their team. They’re probably not your typical Kansas team with two big power players and high-low motion offense that you usually see.”
CLEMSON (25-9, 11-7 ACC) vs. KANSAS (29-7, 13-5 BIG 12)
Tipoff: 7:09 p.m. ET
Arena: CenturyLink Center (17,535)
Radio: CTN (Don Munson-pbp; Terrence Oglesby -color)
TV: CBS (Jim Nantz-pbp; Bill Raftery and Grant Hill-color; Tracy Wolfson-sideline)
- This will be the first meeting between Clemson and Kansas in men’s basketball. Clemson has an 11-9 record against teams from the Big 12.
- Clemson beat Auburn in the Round of 32 by 31 points, its largest margin of victory in history in an NCAA Tournament game and in any game against a ranked opponent.
- Clemson was seeded 5th and Auburn 4th entering the game. The 31-point win was the third largest victory margin by an underdog (seeding) since seeding began in 1979.
- The .259 field goal percentage defense was the second best in the Brad Brownell era.
- Clemson tied a program record for wins in a season with 25 when it trounced Auburn by 31 points in the Round of 32 on March 18.
- This is the second time in three years that Clemson has beaten at least four ranked teams in the same year. The Tigers had four in 2015-16, all at the Bon Secours Arena in Greenville when Clemson was having Littlejohn Coliseum renovated.
- This will be Clemson’s second men’s basketball game in the city of Omaha. The Tigers played at Creighton on December 15, 1962. The Tigers lost that game, 87-67, under head coach Bobby Roberts.
- Gabe DeVoe made eight three-point field goals in the two games in San Diego and now has 83 for the season. That stands eighth best in Clemson history for a season. The native of Shelby, N.C., ranks sixth in the ACC in three-point goals made per game and he is fifth in percentage at .399 after hitting 83 of 208.
- Clemson’s 31-point victory over Auburn was the largest of the tournament by five points so far. Tennessee, Villanova and Purdue all had 26-point victories, while Duke had a 25-point win. Overall there were 12 wins by at least 20 points over the first and second rounds.
- Clemson defeated New Mexico State in the first round 79-68. Clemson, Duke, Villanova and West Virginia are the only teams to win each of their first two games by at least 10 points. It is the first time Clemson has done it in the NCAA Tournament.
- No. 1 seed Kansas advanced to its 31st NCAA Tournament Sweet 16 with an 83-79 win against Seton Hall (3/17). It is KU’s 22nd Sweet 16 since the NCAA field expanded to 64 teams in 1985.
- Kansas is playing Clemson for the first time in men’s basketball. Since Bill Self took over KU in 2003-04, the Jayhawks are 12-2 against the ACC.
- Kansas has played six games in the NCAA Tournament in Omaha with a 5-1 record. Two of its three trips to CenturyLink Center have led to Final Four appearances (2008 and 2012).
- Senior G Devonte’ Graham, the 2018 Big 12 Player of the Year, is the only player in NCAA Division I averaging 17.0-plus points, 7.0-plus assists, 1.6-plus steals and fewer than 3.0 turnovers per game. Graham ranks fourth nationally in assists per game at 7.5.
- Kansas leads the Big 12 in 3-point field goals made at 10.0, which is 21st nationally, and 3-point field goal percentage at 40.3, which is 11th nationally. The Jayhawks also rank among the top three in the conference in scoring offense (third at 81.4, 29th nationally), scoring margin (second at +10.5, 22nd nationally), field goal percentage (second at 49.6, 11th nationally), field goal percentage defense (third at 42.2), 3-point field goal percentage defense (third at 33.1), assists (second at 16.9, 13th nationally) and assist-to-turnover ratio (second at 1.5, 16th nationally). KU also averages 6.7 assists and 4.2 blocked shots per game.
- Redshirt-sophomore guard Malik Newman was the 2018 Big 12 Championship Most Outstanding Player after averaging 24.0 points, 4.3 rebounds and making 15 3-pointers in Kansas’ title run. He leads KU in the NCAA Tournament with a 19.0 ppg. Also the 2018 Big 12 Newcomer of the Year, Newman is averaging 13.4 points for the season and he is pulling down 4.8 rebounds per game.
- Sophomore center Udoka Azubuike, an All-Big 12 Third Team selection, leads the country in field goal percentage at 77.5percent and is 46-for-54 (85.2 percent) from the field in his last nine games played. Azubuike did not play in the Big 12 Championship due to a knee injury. He logged 22 minutes with 10 points and seven rebounds against Seton Hall. Azubuike scores 13.2 points per game.