No point in rooting against Clemson Men's Basketball

Some fans are so disgruntled they have admitted they are rooting for Clemson to lose so it will bring about change. It's pointless, however: Graham Neff isn't likely to take the action they want to see.
Feb 27, 2024; Clemson, South Carolina, USA; Clemson Head Coach Brad Brownell
Feb 27, 2024; Clemson, South Carolina, USA; Clemson Head Coach Brad Brownell / Ken Ruinard-USA TODAY Sports

The NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament tips off today at 12:15 PM when Michigan State plays Mississippi State in Charlotte, North Carolina. Fans of Clemson Men’s Basketball will need to wait a little bit longer for their team to play their first tournament game since 2021.

The Tigers will face the New Mexico Lobos on Friday at 3:10 PM in Memphis, Tennessee. FanDuel has installed New Mexico as a 2.5-point favorite. ESPN’s Matchup Predictor gives Clemson a 61.7% chance of winning the game outright.

This game has become a focus of internal strife among the fanbase, and most of it is based on opinions about head coach Brad Brownell. This is Brownell’s 14th season with the program, and many fans have become disgruntled with the state of the program.

This has led to some Clemson fans openly admitting that they want the Tigers to lose because they want the program to move in a different direction at head coach. These admissions have led to lively responses on sports radio and social media.

I am one of those fans who has become disgruntled with the program. I believe Clemson should have dismissed Brownell following the 2015-16, 2016-17, 2021-22 and 2022-23 seasons. I have personally fired Brad Brownell four times.

This past weekend I called for Athletic Director Graham Neff to dismiss Brownell if Clemson did anything less than spectacular in this tournament. I did so knowing that there was very little chance that Neff would take such action.

Wanting Graham Neff to fire Brad Brownell and expecting him to do it are two entirely different things

Whether Neff said it directly or not, the majority of the opinions I have heard is that he set the bar for this program to make the NCAA Tournament.

I don’t agree with the fans who want the team to lose to hasten Brownell’s dismissal, but I do sympathize with their angst. Right now, minus that spectacular showing I mentioned earlier, it feels like Clemson is in a purgatory. Not bad enough to trigger a change at head coach, but not good enough to have any real hope that the program will improve consistently.

If you are one of those fans who secretly (or openly) wants Clemson to lose so Brownell will be fired, I have advice: don’t do it, because it isn’t going to happen. If the speculation is correct that Neff set the bar at making the tournament, then the bar has been reached.

Neff, in my opinion, is a man of integrity. He would not set an expectation for Brownell to meet and then fire him anyway even if he achieved it.

I am not rooting for Clemson to lose and I would not do so under any circumstances. I am simply making the point for those who believe a Clemson loss will bring about change that it is a pointless endeavor. Unless we have been wrong about the standard Neff expected Brownell to achieve this season, Brownell isn’t going anywhere, so you might as well root for your team.