Clemson Men’s Basketball kicked off Brad Brownell’s 14th season with practice on Tuesday, and the Tigers ACC schedule was released Tuesday evening.
The Tigers non-conference schedule was previously released and is challenging, including Alabama, South Carolina, TCU and Memphis, among others.
The Tigers 9-5 non-conference record last year was pegged as reason the Tigers missed March Madness, but the meat of the schedule is ACC play and for Clemson that starts in early December with a trip to Pittsburgh to take on the Panthers, who are expected by many to finish in the top half of the ACC in 2023-2024.
That will be the Tigers only conference tilt for a month until they visit Coral Gables, Florida and Miami on January 3, 2024, which begins a run of 19 straight conference games for the Tigers.
Clemson draws North Carolina twice, first in Clemson on January 6 and then exactly a month later in Chapel Hill.
Needless to say, drawing Pittsburgh, Miami and North Carolina to start the ACC is not likely to ease the Tigers into the ACC portion of their conference.
With the quality of the ACC, each season typically finds a stretch of games that would challenge most top 10 teams and this year’s could potentially be the two-weeks in early to mid-February, where the Tigers face a 5 game stretch that includes Virginia (home, February 3), the previously mentioned game in Chapel Hill (February 6), visit Syracuse (February 10), then host Miami (February 13) and North Carolina State (February 17).
In the 20-game ACC schedule, Clemson plays Miami, Pittsburgh, Florida State, North Carolina, Georgia Tech, Syracuse, and Wake Forest home and home, while traveling to Virginia Tech, Duke and Notre Dame, and hosts Louisville, Boston College and Virginia.
The Tigers have a lot to replace, including Hunter Tyson and Brevin Galloway, but if P.J. Hall and Alex Hemenway can stay healthy, the returning underclassmen continue to mature and the transfers, including Joe Girard (16.4 ppg at Syracuse), can assimilate into the Brownell system, this team is full of potential.
Hall averaged 15.3 points and 5.7 rebounds per game last season and played injured for a portion of the season and he is backed by guard Chase Hunter who averaged 13.8 points and dished out a team leading 138 assists while playing over 32 minutes a game.
Can Clemson Men’s Basketball contend in the ACC in 2023-2024?
Last season ended with the disappointment of missing the NCAA Tournament and that makes it easy to forget that the Tigers jumped out to a 10-1 conference record, before finishing 14-6 in ACC play.
Duke is expected to be the class of the conference, but there are those that believe the Tigers can contend.
It’s Clemson basketball, so there are no givens, but practice has opened, the full schedule released and no frustrating losses have been recorded, so optimism reigns.