Clemson Men’s Basketball underdogs in must win ACC Tournament opener

If they haven’t before today, Clemson Men’s Basketball has to hear the doubters loud and clear as they prepare for the matchup with North Carolina State in the ACC Tournament this evening.

On December 30th, the Tigers beat the Wolfpack 78-64 in Littlejohn Coliseum to move to 11-3 on the season and 3-0 in the ACC.

Almost two months later, on February 25, the Tigers visited Raleigh in an important game for both teams, though definitely bigger for the Tigers.

Surely revenge would be a factor and State would exact revenge.

96-71 Clemson, and it wasn’t that close.

This morning I opened my paper (i.e. phone) to find the Tigers are an underdog to a team they beat home and away, by significant margins.

The Wolfpack’s performance Wednesday night against Virginia Tech (another team Clemson has beaten) undoubtedly has impacted the odds and to be fair the spread is under a bucket.

North Carolina State shot 61.8% from the field, 45.8% on three pointers and outrebounded the Hokies by 10.

If those numbers are repeated tonight, Clemson loses.  Handily.

But the Wolfpack aren’t playing the Hokies tonight.

That said, almost everyone agrees the Tigers NCAA Tournament chances are on the line tonight (and tomorrow if they win tonight).

Clemson Men’s Basketball fins itself a 1.5 point underdog to a team they’ve beaten twice by double digits this season

Apparently, North Carolina State is already in the tournament with a similar record as Clemson, two less ACC wins and two double digit losses to the Tigers.

Gotta love the NET.

John Chancey (20-11, 12-19 ATS):

This is a tale of two realities. The first is that Clemson is not the same team away from Littlejohn Coliseum that they are at home. The second is that NC State isn’t much better away from PNC Arena. Clemson won by 25 recently in Raleigh. NC State would have mercy-ruled Virginia Tech if such a rule existed.

This will be a close game, but I am not much different than the people who vote in the AP Poll, who put together the NET and KenPom metrics or the NCAA selection committee: I know Clemson is good, but can they win under pressure? Can they be clutch? I wouldn’t be asking that question if I were convinced.

North Carolina State Wolfpack
Clemson Tigers

Marty Coleman (21-10, 13-18 ATS):

I caught a few minutes of the Wolfpack demolishing Virginia Tech Wednesday night and if they repeat that performance tonight the Tigers have no chance.

But a repeat performance is not a given or, I would argue, even a probability.

The Tigers are rested, have beaten this team twice by double digits and should be motivated, because their season ends tonight if they lose.

North Carolina State Wolfpack
Clemson Tigers

Game odds refresh periodically and are subject to change