Gotta think that with the way Clemson’s defense has melted down toward season’s end (for a handful of reasons), the specifics of the Tigers’ first-round NCAA game are the least of Oliver Purnell’s concerns.
Have a story in Sunday’s paper going over some of the analysts/licensed bracketologists’ takes on where Clemson will be seeded; by and large, most felt the prompt ACC tourney departure cost the Tigers a spot, leaving them in the No. 5-7 range.
I’ve opined for a while that the difference between teams 10-50 in the country appears pretty negligible, with variables such as momentum and home-court advantage being about the only factors separating them on a nightly basis.
Which gets to the root of why I think the first-round ACC tourney exodus could wind up being REALLY costly.
It’s certainly within the realm of reason that Clemson falls to a No. 7 seed.
The winner of the Nos. 7 vs. 10 game faces the winner of the Nos. 2 vs. 15 game in the NCAA second round, and I think there’s a major difference this year between the probable 2 seeds and the 3s/4s.
Sure, that’s putting the cart before the horse, making the assumption the Tigers survive the first round. But that game, in my opinion, will be decided by Clemson’s intensity level, regardless of opponent.
By the second round, talent now becomes a factor.
You have to assume No. 1 seeds will go to UNC, Pittsburgh and Connecticut … and, I’d argue, Louisville (over UConn, even). Kansas, Memphis and Michigan State are in their own tier as No. 2s, and I believe Oklahoma should be in the group, far ahead of the others supposedly battling for that fourth No. 2 (Wake, Duke, Missouri).
If I’m the Tigers, I like my chances MUCH better in the second round against those in the next tier – in no particular order, Syracuse, Wake, Duke, Missouri, Villanova, UCLA, Gonzaga – than the aforementioned 2s or 1s.
Here are the possible first-round destinations: Greensboro, Miami, Philadelphia, Dayton, Kansas City, Minneapolis, Boise, Portland.
Those aren’t real fan-friendly for the Tigers; by my calculation, Dayton (8-9 hours) is the shortest drive beyond Greensboro.
But I gotta admit, I’m crossing my fingers for Portland. Having traversed the California wine country and the Seattle/San Juan Islands areas, I’ve always wanted to visit Portland and its surrounding scenic landscape for a few days, too.
Dayton and Philadelphia would be my least-favorite destinations, although I reckon I could get stoked for a genuine Philly cheesesteak (or five).
OK, I’m saying I’m even as far as my ACC tourney predictions so far.
Yeah, I’ve already lost my prediction champ, Wake Forest – whom I predicted because I thought the Deacs matched up best against the others among the Duke/UNC triumvirate.
But my darkhorse pick – FSU – delivered today, fulfilling my “prophesy” that they would be able to control tempo against the Tar Heels.
Wonder how many voters would change their ACC player of the year votes to Toney Douglas if they were given a mulligan?
The Seminoles are sooo good defensively, and it’s easy to see why a few NBA scouts have told me they think 7-1 redshirt frosh center Solomon Alabi is the next Hasheem Thabeet.
One update/correction on baseball player Wilson Boyd’s injury.
Boyd’s wisdom teeth have been bothering him, but he will not have them removed until Monday, I’m told.
Boyd sat out Friday’s two wins over Wake Forest because of a virus that has “affected” one side of his face, including an eye, coach Jack Leggett said. Leggett said doctors aren’t quite sure whether the virus is related to the wisdom teeth. (I’m no doctor, but I’m guessing, then, there’s a theory that the facial condition might be a complication from medicine Boyd is taking).