CLEMSON – As it inches ever closer to its first NCAA Tournament berth since 2011, the Clemson basketball team also continues to climb in the national polls with only six games remaining in the regular season.
The Tigers, who improved to 20-4 overall and 9-3 in the Atlantic Coast Conference with a victory against Pittsburgh Thursday night, moved up five spots to No. 11 in the Associated Press Top 25 and up three spots to No. 12 in the USA TODAY Coaches Poll on Monday.
It marks Clemson highest ranking in the AP poll since Feb. 2, 2009 and its highest ranking in the coaches poll since Feb. 9, 2009. Clemson finished 23-9 that season, capped by a three-point loss to Michigan in the first round of the NCAA Tournament.
This season Clemson has six games remaining before the ACC Tournament. On Wednesday Clemson plays at Florida State, where the Tigers are 2-5 under Coach Brad Brownell. The Tigers return home to play host to No. 10 Duke on Sunday.
“We’re going to have some very challenging games this week,” Brownell said.
On Sunday, Brownell’s team was projected as a No. 3 seed in the NCAA Tournament when the NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Committee revealed its top 16 teams. The Tigers were placed as a No. 3 seed in the Midwest Region of the bracket.
Clemson has never been higher than a No. 4 seed in the tournament. The Tigers earned a No. 4 seed in 1987 and again in 1997.
In 1987 the Tigers were upset by Southwest Missouri State in the first round of the tournament; in 1997, Clemson advanced to the Sweet 16 before falling to Minnesota in double overtime.