“An emotional 24 hours.”
That’s how Brad Brownell described the whirlwind that was Selection Sunday for his Clemson males’s basketball group. The Tigers’ veteran coach was adamant after his group handedly beat NC State a 3rd time this season in final week’s ACC Tournament quarterfinals that Clemson had executed sufficient to be an NCAA Tournament group.
The choice committee didn’t agree. Clemson was one of many first 4 at-large candidates to be disregarded of the sphere. That regardless of the Tigers successful 23 video games, ending its third-place season within the ACC with 15 league wins and having a successful report in opposition to the primary two quadrants, together with 4 Quad 1 victories.
Brownell’s group is now making an attempt to show its consideration to Wednesday’s first-round matchup with Morehead State as a part of the National Invitation Tournament. Speaking on Monday for the primary time since studying Clemson’s postseason destiny, although, Brownell didn’t maintain again on what he firmly believes was an NCAA Tournament snub.
“Certainly disappointed and a little bit angry with what’s taken place here with the selection committee,” Brownell mentioned.
Brownell didn’t lay all the blame at their toes. He mentioned his group has to take some accountability by placing collectively a resume that made instances for and in opposition to the Tigers, who misplaced 4 video games in opposition to the underside two quadrants. The lowlights have been a highway loss to a South Carolina group that completed within the backside third of the SEC, a Quad 4 loss on a impartial ground to Loyola-Chicago and one other Quad 4 setback to a Louisville group that received simply 4 video games all season.
“All the teams are very similar in certain ways,” Brownell mentioned. “We all have our warts. We all have issues we’ve executed. Accomplishments. Big wins. One of the issues I instructed our groups is sadly we misplaced a few video games that we in all probability shouldn’t, and we put it within the committee’s palms. And while you do this, then generally you’re not at all times going to get the decision you need.
“Having said all of that, I still adamantly feel like they made a mistake.”
Part of Brownell’s frustration took intention at how closely the choice committee appeared to weigh the metrics moderately than on-court outcomes. One of the most important perceived knocks on Clemson was its non-conference energy of schedule, which ranked 315th out of 352 Division I groups, in response to KenPom. Penn State was the one non-conference win the Tigers notched over a group within the high 100 of the NET rankings.
Yet that win was a part of a 6-4 report Clemson had in opposition to groups which can be on this yr’s match. The Tigers additionally had a 4-0 report in opposition to fellow ACC bubble groups NC State and Pittsburgh, which both tied or completed under Clemson within the league standings. NC State, an 11 seed within the South Regional, averted Dayton all collectively whereas Pitt will play Mississippi State within the First Four on Wednesday.
Once he noticed Pitt – a group Clemson beat on the highway of their solely assembly this season – pop up as one of many final groups into the bracket throughout Sunday’s choice present, Brownell mentioned he knew that wasn’t a great signal for Clemson. Brownell mentioned he understands that metrics are helpful in some instances since not everyone performs one another, however they’re “way too much now,” he added.
“Obviously the head-to-head games speak to themselves,” Brownell mentioned. “It’s loopy while you’re all this shut, and we’re not going to take a look at enjoying one another on the courtroom? I do know that’s the outrage – and it needs to be – from our fan base. I’m pleased with our fan base for that. Because that makes zero sense.
“This has been a very challenging time, but again we had chances to take care of our business and we didn’t. We left it up to the committee, and unfortunately maybe the metrics are more important than common sense, head to head or watching games. I feel bad about that.”
Asked if he felt like title recognition that sure league colleges have performed an element in Clemson being bypassed, Brownell began his reply by saying he’d wish to suppose that’s not the case.
“But politics? Any of that? Do some research,” he added.
Brownell mentioned he could should rethink a few of his non-conference scheduling methods going ahead if metrics are going to be weighed this closely by the committee, however he additionally doesn’t really feel like Clemson is getting a lot assist from the ACC in that regard.
Aside from the truth that the convention’s extra high-profile packages akin to Duke, North Carolina, Virginia and NC State often get invitations to marquee non-conference tournaments in opposition to different high-end competitors, Brownell famous Clemson hardly ever will get paired with what’s projected to be one of many Big Ten’s higher groups within the annual ACC-Big Ten Challenge.
Brownell used this season’s Penn State sport for instance. While Penn State ended up outplaying preseason expectations, the Nittany Lions have been picked within the preseason to complete eleventh within the 14-team league. Meanwhile, Clemson was projected to complete eleventh out of 15 ACC groups, which is “ why they put us together,” Brownell theorized.
“This is a complaint that I’ve stated to the league office for years: We’re not all treated the same in the league,” Brownell mentioned. “In the ACC-Big Ten Challenge, I’ve been the pinnacle coach at Clemson for 13 years, and I discover it unbelievably ironic that, in a kind of years, we will’t play Indiana? I’m from southern Indiana. That’s not a great TV story? We can’t promote that? They’re often one the most effective groups within the Big Ten. We can’t convey them to Clemson one time? Or I can’t return to Indiana? Or Purdue for that matter? Those are difficult video games that clearly, if we win them, are very rewarding.
“It’s the same with some of the non-conference tournaments. The Battle for Atlantis. The Maui (Invitational). Those are rotated every four years, but Carolina, Duke and a lot of the bigger-name basketball bluebloods, they get to go to those a lot more than we really ever do. So we’ve got to go find other things.”
Brownell mentioned he bought a name from league commissioner Jim Phillips following Sunday’s picks, and the 2 talked for about 20 minutes. Brownell aired a number of the similar grievances throughout their dialog. And after the ACC bought simply 5 groups into the match for the second straight yr, Brownell mentioned he’s hopeful his message will begin resonating.
“It’s just not good enough for the league to be getting five teams in the tournament,” he mentioned. “It’s just not.”
Brownell mentioned lacking out on the NCAA Tournament doesn’t take away from what his group has achieved this season. But it comes with a damage that’s going to be onerous to shake for everybody concerned.
“At the end of the day, I’m just really proud of this team,” he mentioned. “We had a extremely good yr. Excited to maintain enjoying extra video games. Twenty-three wins and 14 ACC wins. This group’s bought rather a lot to be pleased with. I additionally wish to thank our followers. We had a terrific turnout this yr, particularly later within the season.
“I heard from our fans, too, that the NCAA Tournament is a big deal. And to be this close, we’d all love to be playing. And I know our fans would love to be following us. I hurt for them as well.”