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Jay Bilas on Clemson: 'This is an NCAA Tournament team, period'

On3-Social-Profile_GRAYby:On3 Staff Report03/10/23

Clemson‘s status as an NCAA Tournament bubble team is some cause for consternation and even a little bit of ESPN on ESPN warfare, it seems.

While live on the air, analyst Jay Bilas made a case for the Tigers that is fairly compelling all while his ESPN colleague Joe Lunardi has Clemson out of the field as one of the “first four out.”

“I don’t need two eyes to know Clemson is a tournament team,” said Bilas. “Clemson has five Quad 1 wins. And four of them are away from home. I don’t even know why this is a discussion. This is an NCAA Tournament team, period. They’ve had really good wins.”

Bilas’ case certainly has some considerable ammo behind it.

For one, Lunardi has Pittsburgh in the field and Clemson out. That despite the fact Clemson scored a 75-74 road win over Pitt when the two teams met. Clemson also sports a better overall record than Pitt.

The case doesn’t end there, though.

In addition to beating Pitt, which is in the field, Clemson has also beaten NC State. Not just once, but three times.

Lunardi has NC State as a No. 10 seed, but doesn’t have NC State anywhere on his NCAA Tournament “On the Bubble” list of teams. And it’s not just that Clemson won all three meetings with NC State. It won them convincingly.

Clemson won by 14 at home, won by 25 on the road, then won by 26 at a neutral-site venue in the ACC Tournament.

Brad Brownell proud of his team

Whatever the prognosticators say about Clemson’s NCAA Tournament chances, coach Brad Brownell is extremely proud of his team. The Tigers finished off their regular season with a 14-6 record in the ACC.

“Great regular season for our team. Can’t state that enough,” Brownell said recently. “Obviously, disappointed that we’re one game away from possibly tying for a regular-season title. But 14 league wins, 15-1 at home, doing it with great kids, and doing it the right way. I think it’s unbelievably impressive, and I’m just really proud of this group. It’s been a fun group to coach and, to be honest with you, to watch. They’ve played some marvelous basketball this year.”

Clemson is taking on Virginia in the ACC Tournament on Saturday evening, with the game ongoing at the time of this publication.