Sunday, February 3, 2013

Clemson's NCAA Tourney Tracker: The End?

Let’s be honest – we knew Clemson making the NCAA Tournament would require a minor miracle. And we knew Clemson wouldn’t win every game remaining on their schedule. But I don’t think anyone expected yesterday’s course of events:

  -  Being unable to have a proper shoot around prior to the game
  -  Being lit up from three point range
  -  Thinking defense was optional
  -  Facing a 20 point deficit
  -  Seeing the other team struggle at the free throw line
  -  Cutting the lead to 1
  -  Thinking defense was optional
  -  Leaving Chestnut Hill once again without a win

Clemson really needed this win. Their RPI and Strength of Schedule were already low. Now they’re even lower. They couldn’t afford sub 100 RPI losses. Now they have another. They needed to sweep a few teams. Now they’re running out of options.

But is all lost? No, but it’s really close. And if Clemson needed a minor miracle before BC, they need a major one now. So while we’re not quite ready to cash in the quest for being an NCAA Tournament team, we are not exactly encouraged by what needs to happen.

Goal: 11 Conference wins and RPI around 50
Current: 4-5, with 4 home games and 5 road games remaining
RPI: 132 (Down 22 points since defeating GT)
Strength of Schedule: 149 (Down 25 points since defeating GT)

Home Games:
Based upon our last projections, Clemson needed to go 3-1 in their remaining home games. Since the loss to BC, they may need to do run the table at home to give themselves more wiggle room for road games.

As we’ve previously stated, every team that comes into Littlejohn can be beaten. The question will be which Clemson team shows up and how they shoot the basketball. Also, Clemson will need some help from the locals as their last few games have been horribly attended.

Can Clemson run the table against NC State, Miami, UNC, & BC? This team has shown it’s capable of anything, though not consistent enough to win them all.

Road Games:
With road games at Virginia (Thursday), Miami, Maryland, VT, & GT, Clemson only has room for two more losses. That means a team that has yet to win on the road in ACC play now has to go 3-2. This task may be more improbable than running the table at home.

Summary:
Even with the disappointment of losing to BC, Clemson fans should be encouraged by this team and their unwillingness to quit. They could have cashed the season in after the heartbreaker at FSU, but they rebounded by taking care of VT at home. And in this game, when Clemson got down by 20, they could have coasted to the finish. The outcome would have been the same, and few would have blamed them. But they refused to quit, fought back, and gave themselves a chance in the end.

Clemson will need to maintain that mentality to have a shot at the Tourney as their backs are truly against the wall, the deck is stacked against them, and most folks have left them for dead. And I think they will, but unfortunately, the near misses against FSU & BC may cause Clemson to be forced to ponder what could have been rather than enjoying the fruits of their labor.

Tune in this Thursday as Clemson travels to UVA to try to get back on track and earn their first road win in the ACC.


2 comments:

  1. They have no chance at the big Dance and little hope for the NIT.But after the Coastal game I think they are doing better than expected.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Team certainly can make the NIT; just way too many players with some but not all skills sets. The fight in this team is incredible and they show great heart. Just need to show up earlier (maybe press out of the box and not as a last resort) and shoot better. Plus, if Hall isn't playing great defense, he doesn't need to start.
    I think they have and will continue to improve so all is not lost yet.

    ReplyDelete

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