Clemson Men's Basketball owns Syracuse, will battle for double-bye at Wake

The Tigers used a great start to keep the Orange at arms length Tuesday night, setting up a game with the Demon Deacons that will decide the 4-seed and final double-bye in the ACC Tournament.

Ken Ruinard-USA TODAY Sports

Clemson Men’s Basketball rebounded from their road loss at Notre Dame to pick up the victory against the Syracuse Orange on Tuesday evening 90-75.

The Tigers jumped out to an early advantage that Syracuse couldn’t quite overcome, though they did pull close occasionally. PJ Hall scored 25 points to lead the Tigers in scoring. Ian Schieffelin notched a double-double with 16 points and 16 rebounds.

The Tigers are now 21-9 overall and 11-8 in the ACC. With one regular season game remaining, they are tied with Pittsburgh for fourth place in the ACC standings. Syracuse is half a game behind at 11-9 and Wake Forest is lurking at 10-9.

The battle for the 4-seed in the ACC Tournament and the final double-bye will come down to Saturday’s matchup with the Demon Deacons in Winston-Salem. The Tigers hold the tiebreaker with Pitt, so if they win Saturday, they will grab the 4-seed regardless of the outcome of the Panthers’ weekend game with NC State.

If Wake wins against Clemson, the Deacons will be tied with Clemson. If it comes down to that, Wake would win the tiebreaker and get the 4-seed, regardless of Pitt’s situation.

ACC tiebreakers would not favor Clemson Men's Basketball

If Pitt defeats NC State and there is a three-way tie between Clemson, Wake Forest, and Pittsburgh, the first tiebreaker is the record among the three squads. Pitt would be 1-3, Wake Forest would be 2-1 and Clemson would be 2-1. In that scenario, Pitt would be eliminated from consideration, and Clemson would lose the head-to-head tiebreaker with Wake.

The double-bye might mean more this season than ever in the ACC. While North Carolina and Duke have established themselves as the best teams in the conference, they are far from unbeatable. Every team has proven vulnerable at times and ten squads have a realistic shot at defeating anyone on any given day (not to mention the Irish are red-hot at the moment).

When taking this into account, one can see how making it through four or more games to win the ACC title is a big deal compared to simply starting in the quarterfinals and playing three games.

Beyond the ACC Tournament, it does appear Clemson is now a lock for the NCAA Tournament, but seeding is still in flux.