The ACC’s top 3 teams appear set. Duke and North Carolina at 12-2 in the ACC have clinched ACC tournament first round BYEs. Florida St barring a major collapse seems to have locked up 3rd position. The 4th position currently belongs to Virginia at 8-6, followed by Miami at 7-6. They play Florida State Sunday. After that it is NC State at 7-7 and Clemson at 7-7. Wait a minute is this the same Clemson team that less than 3 weeks ago was 11-12 (3-6)?
This was a forgotten team in the ACC that had lost games to UTEP, Coastal Carolina, and Hawaii. A 20 point win over Florida State was seen more as function of a struggling Seminole team in January than of anything to do with Clemson. Now, since a 62-64 home loss to Maryland, Clemson has won 4 of their last 5 games including a win over Virginia. Saturday Clemson won an OT thriller over NC State 72-69 and now they are 1 game out of 4th place in the ACC stands.
I saw a couple of tweets across my @TalkinACCSports timeline that asked where did Clemson come from all of a sudden? At 15-13 and an RPI in the 140s, Clemson isn’t going to the NCAAs without winning the ACCT, but they are making some late noise. This is a balanced scoring team that has 4 players Andre Young, Tanner Smith, Devin Booker and Milton Jennings that average 9 points or more, but it’s the ACC’s 2nd ranked defense that has fueled Clemson’s recent good play. The Tigers have allowed only 1 opponent since the middle of January more than 70 points in a game.
Could the Tigers really end up in 4th place and earn a first round ACCT Bye? They have a shot at it. The Tigers lost their top two scorers from 2011. A 4th place finish would be remarkable and should warrant Brad Brownell some ACC COY consideration. This seemed unfathomable a few weeks ago. The resurgent Tigers have quietly put together one of the better turnarounds in the ACC this year.