Now that Clemson knows who it is playing and when it is playing in the Atlantic Coast Conference Baseball Championship, it can now turn its attention to winning, which is something it will have to do to keep its season going.
Sunday morning, the ACC announced game times for Clemson’s first two games of the ACC Baseball Championship this week at Durham Bulls Athletic Park in Durham, N.C. The Tigers, the No. 8 seed, will play No. 12 seed Boston College at 11 a.m. on Tuesday and top seed Louisville on Thursday, also at 11 a.m.
The Clemson-BC game on Tuesday opens this year’s ACC Tournament.
The Tigers (33-23, 15-15 ACC) need to win at least one game or perhaps both in the ACC Championships to earn an 11th straight NCAA Tournament bid. After Saturday’s regular season finale, they stand at No. 38 in the latest RPI rankings.
Clemson head coach Monte Lee thinks the Tigers are in pretty good shape to get into the NCAA Tournament.
“When you look at our resume, just based on our league, we are in pretty good shape,” he said. “We are behind, obviously, Louisville, NC State, North Carolina and Georgia Tech. I think our RPI is pretty strong … I think we are. I have talked to some folks and have looked at it. I think right now, where we sit, I think we are in.
“But anything can happen. The bottom line is we need to go into the ACC Tournament, and we need to play well. We need to try to better our resume via the ACC Tournament.”
Heading into their weekend series against Wake Forest, DI Baseball and Baseball America, had Clemson as one of the last teams in. After taking two of three games from the Demon Deacons, the Tigers are still sitting on the proverbial NCAA Tournament bubble.
“I think regardless of what our record is going into the ACC Tournament, we need to have some success and we need to play well in the ACC Tournament,” Lee said.
Clemson has missed the NCAA Tournament just one time since 1987 and that came in 2008.
The ACC is guaranteed to earn at least five bids to the NCAA Tournament. Louisville, who won the regular season conference championship, Georgia Tech, Miami, NC State and North Carolina are all locks to get in the tournament. Clemson, Duke, Florida State and Virginia appear to be in heading into conference tournament play, but they could all play their way out of the NCAA Tournament Field with bad performances at the ACC Baseball Championship.
“They have to go out there and do it,” Lee said. “The bottom line is we are fifty-six games into the season and guys have to step up and play their best baseball this time of the year. If we do that, then we give ourselves a chance.”
Sunday’s Bubble Update (courtesy of TCI’s Trey McCurry)
Connecticut (33-22 (12-12 AAC); RPI: 28) – Win 1 or more games in AAC Tournament
Florida State (35-19 (17-12 ACC); RPI: 50) – Lower RPI but a win in the ACC Tournament should put them in
Houston (32-22 (12-12 AAC); RPI: 40) – Win at least one game in AAC Tournament
Nebraska (28-20 (15-9 Big 10); RPI: 35) – Winning at game at the Big Ten Tournament should put them in
Clemson (33-22 (15-15 ACC); RPI: 38) – Win at least one game in ACC Tournament, most likely against Louisville
Duke (30-24 (15-15 ACC); RPI: 46) – Win at least one game in the ACC Tournament, winning Pool would put them in
Michigan (38-16 (16-7 Big 10); RPI: 47) – Win a game or two in the Big Ten Tournament
Oklahoma (33-21 (11-13 Big 12); RPI: 37) – Good RPI but most likely would need to win at least one game in Big 12 Tournament
UC Irvine (33-16 (13-6 Big West); RPI: 52) – sits third in Big West and most likely needs to jump to 2nd and keep RPI close to 50
Virginia (32-22 (14-16 ACC); RPI: 43) – Win at least one game in ACC Tournament, winning Pool would put them in
Arizona (29-24 (12-14 PAC 12); RPI: 44) – RPI is climbing with seven straight wins but can’t afford to drop any games at Washington State next weekend
Florida (33-23 (13-17 SEC); RPI: 25) – Nice RPI but probably needs a couple of wins in the SEC Tournament
Louisiana Tech (34-22 (17-13 C-USA); RPI: 55) – Probably needs to win at least two games in the C-USA Tournament
Southern Miss (34-19 (20-20 C-USA); RPI: 56) – Win at least two games in the C-USA Tournament
UCF (34-20 (11-13 AAC); RPI: 45) – RPI has climbed but will need to win one or two games in AAC Tournament
Washington (28-21 (12-14 PAC 12); RPI: 58) – Needs to beat UCLA today and win home series vs. California to have a shot