CLEMSON – There are only two games remaining in the regular season, but the Clemson basketball team’s status remains very much in flux.
With a resume that includes at least 21 victories, a winning record in the rugged Atlantic Coast Conference and an RPI of No. 9 nationally, the 18th-ranked Tigers are assured of their first NCAA Tournament berth since 2011.
But where the Tigers will play in the tournament and where they’ll be seeded in the upcoming ACC Tournament will be determined in no small part by how they fare Wednesday night against Florida State at Littlejohn Coliseum and Saturday at Syracuse.
The Tigers, who are tied for fourth place with N.C. State, could finish anywhere from third to ninth in the league standings.
“I don’t worry a lot about it – let’s just try to win games and see where we fall,” Clemson coach Brad Brownell said. “I don’t have my head in the sand. I peek at games, certainly, but I’m not really concerned about finishing fourth, fifth, sixth or wherever we end up.
“We just want to win as many as we can to put us in the best position for the ACC and NCAA Tournaments. And obviously our guys have a chance to break the school record with 11 (ACC) wins. That would be a nice touch for this group.”
Clemson has won 10 games in ACC play six times in school history, including this season, but never 11.
To accomplish that Wednesday, Clemson will have to overcome a longtime nemesis in Florida State. The Seminoles have won four in a row and 11 of the last 14 games between the teams.
But an even bigger nemesis for the Tigers? Turnovers.
Clemson has committed an average of 18 turnovers per game in its four-game losing streak against the Seminoles – a fact that isn’t lost on Brownell.
“We have to take care of the ball better,” Brownell said.
In the Tigers’ 81-79 overtime loss at Florida State on Feb. 14, the Tigers turned the ball over 21 times.
“We got a little sped up and turned the ball over and they got points in transition,” Brownell said. “We’ve got to rebound better, be physical and ready to compete. Defense and rebounding are always huge when you play those guys.”
Florida State is coming off a 20-point loss at N.C. State in which the Seminoles went 0-for-15 from 3-point range.
“We’re going to have to be totally on point against Clemson,” Florida State coach Leonard Hamilton said. “We can’t have a game where we don’t even make a perimeter shot, not even a 15-footer. We hadn’t gone without a 3-pointer in a game since 2014.”