PITTSBURGH, Pa. — Though he believes his team has already done enough to earn a national seed in the upcoming NCAA Tournament in a few weeks, Clemson head coach Monte Lee still wants to win the ACC Tournament.
The Tigers, who wrapped up a share of the ACC Regular Season Championship with Saturday’s 5-0 win over Pittsburgh, will be the No. 2 seed in next week’s ACC Baseball Tournament in Durham, N.C., which will run next Tuesday-Sunday.
“We are going to try and win it. That is the bottom line,” Lee said. “We are going there for a reason and that is to try and win this thing. We are trying to build our resume to be a national seed so every single game matters.”
Clemson (43-13, 22-8 ACC) will find out who it will play first in the ACC Tournament and the day and time on Sunday. However, the ACC did release the pairings following Saturday’s game. The Tigers are in Pool B and will play No. 7 seed Miami and No. 11 Notre Dame in the pool part of the tournament.
The winners of each pool will advance to Saturday’s semifinal round and Sunday will be the championship game.
“Regardless if you are playing a game ‘that doesn’t matter,’ sort of speak, for the ACC Tournament, they all matter because we have to continue to build that resume so the selection committee will give us that national seed,” Lee said.
However, Lee feels good about where the Tigers are at overall heading into the conference tournament.
“Just looking at our regular season, with us sitting there at 43 wins and 22-8 in the ACC, I think it is hard not to give (a national seed) to us,” he said.
It also helps that Clemson won the ACC Regular Season Championship along with the Atlantic Division title as well.
The Tigers have success in the ACC Tournament under Lee’s guidance. Clemson won the ACC Championship two years ago to lock up a national seed after going 4-0 in the tournament. Last year was not as good of trip as Clemson went 0-2 in the tournament, which was hosted in Louisville, Ky.
However, this year’s trip to Durham has a very similar feel as the 2016 team’s trip to Durham did. The Tigers closed the regular season that year by winning its last four three-game series, including wins over Florida State and NC State and a sweep at Notre Dame.
They closed the regular season that year by winning 12 of their last 16 games, including their last five.
This year, Clemson closed the regular season with six straight wins and has won 17 of its last 19 games. The Tigers won their last 11 ACC road games and has 10 straight overall road wins.
Now they hope to keep it going in the ACC Tournament and add another ACC Championship to the trophy case.
“It is about who we are playing and who is the best pitching matchup for us,” Lee said. “We also have to get healthy. We would like to get a couple of our position guys back so we can be at full strength for the tournament and for the following week.”