Clemson will be making its 13th all-time appearance in the NCAA Tournament Friday when the seventh seed Tigers face No. 10 Rutgers in the first round of the Midwest Regional. The game will take place at Bankers Life Fieldhouse in Indianapolis at 9:20 p.m., and will be televised by TBS.
The Tigers are 11-12 all-time in 23 tournament games. The last time they were in the tournament they advanced to the Sweet 16 in 2018, following wins over New Mexico State and Auburn.
Clemson has never advanced to the Final Four. However, it did make it to the West Regional Finals (the Elite 8) in 1980, the program’s first NCAA appearance.
Overall: Clemson leads 2-1
In Clemson: Clemson trails 0-1
In New Brunswick: Clemson leads 1-0
At neutral sites: Clemson leads 1-0
Current streak: Clemson, 1
Brad Brownell vs. Rutgers: 1-1
Rutgers’ Record: 15-11 overall, 10-10 Big Ten
About Rutgers: For the first time in 30 years, Rutgers will play in an NCAA Tournament game. The Scarlet Knights are making their first NCAA appearance since 1991. They will be looking for their first NCAA Tournament victory since 1983.
Rutgers in the tournament: This marks the seventh NCAA Tournament appearance for Rutgers. They hold a 5-7 record all-time in the NCAA Tournament. They advanced to the 1975 Final Four.
Rutgers’ head coach: Steve Pikiell, 271-232 (16th)
Rutgers’ players: The Scarlet Knights had four all-conference players, led by Third Team All-Big Ten and Second Team All-District Ron Harper Jr. (15.4 points per game). Harper Jr., a junior, just surpassed 1,000 career points. Jacob Young, Geo Baker and Myles Johnson were named Honorable Mention All-Big Ten.
Rutgers is known for: It all starts with defense and rebounding. Rutgers is 12-1 this season when outrebounding its opponent. Pikiell preaches holding teams to the 65 points, something that they have done nine times this season with the 18th ranked defensive efficiency in the nation.
Clemson’s record: 16-7 overall, 10-6 ACC
Clemson head coach: Brad Brownell, 201-149, (11th)
About Clemson: The Tigers have posted 29 postseason appearances, four Sweet Sixteen appearances, one Elite Eight, and were the 1990 ACC regular season champion. The team last made the NCAA Tournament in 2018, defeating No. 12 New Mexico State in the First Round and No. 4 Auburn in the Second Round to advance to the Sweet Sixteen, where they fell to No. 1 Kansas. The Tigers have won at least one game in each of their past two NCAA Tournament appearances, also winning against No. 12 UAB in the First Round in 2011.
Clemson’s players: Clemson is led by second-team All-ACC forward Aamir Simms who leads the team in points per game (13.3), rebounds per game (6.2), and assists (2.7). Simms is 42nd nationally in field-goal percentage (54.3, 3rd in the ACC) and is 8th in the ACC in offensive rebounds per game (2.4). Guard Al-Amir Dawes averaged 9.0 points per game, while fellow guard Nick Honor is averaging 8.4 points per game. Guard Clyde Trapp averages 7.0 points, 5.4 rebounds and 2.6 assists per game.
Clemson is known for: Clemson is ranked 14th nationally in scoring defense (62.0). Each team in the matchup is top-20 in the nation in defensive efficiency (Rutgers 18th, Clemson 20th).
They said it: “There are some similarities to Florida State in terms of athleticism and size. Ron Harper, Jr., and Raiquan Gray. There are similarities there in terms of just a big, overpowering forward that can really dribble, shoot and make plays. Then obviously, the big guards Florida State has had over the years that Rutgers has. Physically, they are very gifted. They play hard. They can beat you off the bounce. They can beat you in different ways. Guard hard. They are a handful.” –Brownell on who Rutgers reminds him of in the ACC
–Clemson and Rutgers Athletics Communications contributed to this story
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