Tigers are back in The Dance
For the first time in three years, the Clemson men’s basketball team is in the NCAA Tournament.
The Tigers are the No. 7 seed in the Midwest Regional and will play No. 10 Rutgers on Friday. The time, network and location will be announced at a later time.
This year’s tournament will be different than most due to the pandemic. Teams that receive bids to the NCAA Tournament are required to pass seven consecutive COVID-19 tests before entering the tournament bubble to play in the 68-team field.
The NCAA Tournament will be held in Indiana this year to help control the spread of the coronavirus.
“It is the same for everybody. That is just what it is,” Clemson head coach Brad Brownell said. “We have had weird games all year. It has been crazy playing in the ACC Tournament with not too many folks up there. No bands and all the pageantry that comes with it.
“That part that is unfortunate, and I have been to some NCAA Tournaments, is the last time we went a couple of year back, it was an incredible experience.”
Clemson (16-7) advanced to the Sweet 16 the last time it was in the NCAA Tournament. The Tigers beat New Mexico State and Auburn on its way to the 2018 Sweet 16.
“You go to your hotel and your fan base is there and your band is there, and everybody is cheering and patting you on the back. You win a game, and it is unbelievable,” Brownell said. “You are not going to have any of that. Selection Sunday is going to be quarantined basically with our team. Even that is different.
“But you still get to say that you are participating, and you get a chance to compete at the highest level against the best teams in the country and that is enough.”
Overall, this year’s tournament will mark Clemson’s 13th appearance in the NCAA Tournament. All 13 appearances have come as an at-large team.
The Tigers are 11-12 in the NCAA Tournament and have advanced as far as the Elite 8 round once (1980), the Sweet 16 four times (1980, 1990, 1997 and 2018) and the second round five times (1980, 1989, 1990, 1997 and 2018).
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