Clemson Men's Basketball draws tough first round matchup with a hot New Mexico team

While the Tigers sputtered in the ACC Tournament, their next opponent won four games in a row to win the Mountain West Tournament.

Mar 13, 2024; Washington, D.C., USA; Clemson Tigers center PJ Hall (24)
Mar 13, 2024; Washington, D.C., USA; Clemson Tigers center PJ Hall (24) / Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

Clemson Men’s Basketball will be playing the New Mexico Lobos in the first round of the NCAA Tournament. The game will be played in Memphis, Tennessee at the FedExForum on Friday.

The Tigers will be part of the West Region, which features North Carolina as the 1-seed. Arizona is the 2-seed and Baylor is the 3-seed.

The winner of Clemson’s match with New Mexico will play the winner between Baylor and Colgate.

The Lobos finished 6th in the Mountain West Conference, which garnered a good amount of praise nationwide for a mid-major conference. New Mexico won four games in a row to win the MWC Championship. They defeated San Diego State, Colorado State and Boise State, which are all teams that qualified for at-large bids in the tournament.

Clemson has played at the FedExForum already this season. They played the Memphis Tigers in December. That loss was Clemson’s first of the 2023-24 season.

While the teams will both have nearly a week off before they play on Friday, they are polar opposites considering momentum. While New Mexico won four games in a row in a tough conference, the Tigers dropped their first game of the ACC Tournament to a lower seeded program in Boston College.

Considering how lethargic Clemson was against the Eagles in Washington, DC, it is fair to question if they will find the motivation to compete in Memphis.

The Lobos have the size to compete inside with PJ Hall and Ian Schieffelin. Center Nelly Junior Joseph is 6’-10” and averages 8.1 rebounds per game. Forward JT Toppin averages 9.0 rebounds per game.

New Mexico’s scoring comes from their guards, led by Jaelen House with 16.1 points per game. He is followed in scoring by Jamal Mashburn Jr (14.4 per game) and Donovan Dent (14.3 per game).

Tipoff time for the game should be announced later this evening.