With conference play in full swing for college basketball teams nationwide, Joe Lunardi has numerous ACC teams vying for spots in the NCAA Tournament in his latest bracket projections.
Clemson is one of them, though the Tigers still have plenty of work to do.
ESPN’s longtime bracketologist had Clemson among the “First Four Out” in his bracket projections released Sunday, indicating Lunardi believes the Tigers would be one of the first four teams left out of the 68-team field if the tournament started this week. Lunardi had Clemson in the same place in his most recent projections released Tuesday morning.
It’s a bump for Clemson, which was among Lunardi’s “Next Four Out” before the Tigers knocked off North Carolina State on the road Saturday. But Clemson is squarely on the bubble given its body of work to this point.
The win over the Wolfpack was Clemson’s fifth in its last six games and improved the Tigers to 10-5 overall, including a 2-2 mark in ACC play. But Clemson has yet to notch any Quadrant 1 wins based on the NCAA Evaluation Tool, or NET, rankings. The NET, which weighs strength of schedule and game location among other factors, is the primary tool used by the Division I Men’s Basketball Committee to evaluate teams when determining at-large bids and seeding.
Clemson, which sits at No. 55 in the latest NET rankings, is 2-2 in Quad 2 games, 4-2 in Quad 3 games and 4-0 against Quadrant 4. The Tigers lost their lone Quad game 1 to this point — a 66-59 loss to West Virginia in the non-conference — but still have the bulk of their ACC slate remaining, including games against Duke, North Carolina, Virginia Tech, Syracuse and Florida State (twice). All of those games would be Quad 1 or Quad 2 opportunities based on those teams’ current NET rankings.
All of Clemson’s league wins so far have come away from Littlejohn Coliseum, including its best win at this point — a 17-point victory at Virginia on Dec. 22. The Tigers will stay on the road Wednesday at Notre Dame, which would be a Quad 2 win if Clemson can get it.
— Joe Lunardi (@ESPNLunardi) January 9, 2022
— Joe Lunardi (@ESPNLunardi) January 11, 2022
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