Tuesday, January 29, 2013

UPDATED: Clemson's NCAA Tourney Tracker: GT Edition

**The RPI and Strength of Schedule numbers have been updated per ESPN's Daily RPI**

A night like tonight could have been disastrous for Clemson. Terrible attendance, no atmosphere, down double digits early, and playing their 4th game in nine nights. But credit to Clemson and their young legs for gutting out a 63-60 win over GT. And in hanging on for the win, Clemson evens it conference record at 4-4, putting them in a tie for 5th in the ACC (currently, though they could drop some depending on the outcomes of the remaining mid-week games).

After letting a crucial game against FSU slip away last week, Clemson has clawed their way to two straight home wins, which keeps them on pace for eventually becoming a bubble team. So, after tonight's win, here's where Clemson stands - and what they need to do to become a team with hope on Selection Sunday:

Goal: 11 Conference wins and RPI around 50
Current: 4-4, with 4 home games and 6 road games remaining
RPI: 110 (11 point jump for defeating a 121 ranked team)
Strength of Schedule: 124 (little movement considering GT was ranked 121 and now 130)

Home Games:
Based upon our last projections, Clemson needed to go 4-1 in their remaining home games, with GT being one of the ones they had to win. They've accomplished that feat and their record over their final four home games needs to be 3-1. Assuming they can take care of business against BC, they'll need to take two out of three against NCSU, UNC, & Miami. The good news for Clemson fans is that NC State plays at Duke just prior to playing in Littlejohn. Hopefully the streak of NC State following up big games with dud performances can continue, and there's no guarantee what Miami or UNC will look like when they stroll into Clemson.

Road Games:
No change here, but Clemson plays the first of two straight road games Saturday when they play at BC, followed by a trip to UVA. The UVA game suddenly looms large as Clemson will be going for a sweep of White Meat, which could be huge on Selection Sunday. As previously established, Clemson needs to go 4-2 over their six remaining road games - and the next two are huge, and would go a long way to putting Clemson in a better position to become a bubble team.

Random Fact of the Day:
Clemson will play no Wednesday ACC games this season. Means little, but we thought it interesting...

As Clemson continues to win, other factors besides conference wins may require analyzing, including Strength of Schedule and RPI.  Currently, Clemson is ranked in the 120's for both, which won't be good enough.  However, the thought is that if Clemson is able to get to 11 ACC wins, other measurables like SOS and RPI will be where they need to be. 

Please continue to check back as we monitor Clemson's chances of making the NCAA Tournament. We know it won't be an easy climb, but this Tiger team is ready for the challenge.

Go Tigers!

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