Clemson will try to lock in a bye into the quarterfinals of the Atlantic Coast Conference tournament when it closes out the regular season against Notre Dame at home on Saturday.
Clemson (21-9, 13-6 ACC) needs a win and outside help to secure a top-four spot. A loss would lock Clemson into fifth or worse, putting the Tigers in a position where winning the ACC title would require playing four games in four days.
Clemson is in this spot after a 64-57 loss to No. 13 Virginia on Tuesday. Clemson coach Brad Brownell looked to Virginia’s defense as the reason the Tigers fell.
“They’re very good defensively and they’re hard to get a good rhythm against,” Brownell said. “I thought their two freshmen off the bench were very big in the game and that was a difference.”
Clemson has been led offensively by Hunter Tyson, who is averaging 15.7 points per game. PJ Hall is averaging 15.5, Chase Hunter is averaging 14.0 and Brevin Galloway is contributing 11.3 per game.
Notre Dame (11-19, 3-16) is already locked into 14th in the ACC for the 15-team conference tournament, but is riding a high after an upset against No. 25 Pitt earlier this week.
The 88-81 victory was the final home game of Notre Dame coach Mike Brey’s career, who is stepping down at the end of this season.
“What an unbelievable night,” Brey said after that game. “We defended pretty much the whole game. I thought we were good defensively. … It was neat for our seniors to finish like that.”
Nate Laszewski leads Notre Dame with 14.1 points per game. Cormac Ryan (11.9 points), Dane Goodwin (11.7) and JJ Starling (11.2) are also averaging double figures for the Fighting Irish.
Clemson has already set a program record for conference wins this season. The prior best marks came when they went 11-4 in the Southern Conference in 1951-52 and 11-7 in the ACC in the 2017-18 season.
–Field Level Media