The ACC is one of the more competitive conferences in college basketball, and what the means is that the top of the conference is heavy with teams like the Virginia Cavaliers, Duke Blue Devils, Syracuse Orange, Pittsburgh Panthers and North Carolina Tar Heels. Unfortunately, the fallback of a top-heavy conference is that the teams in the middle only have a very small chance of making it to the 2014 NCAA tournament.
Two of these average teams are the Clemson Tigers and Wake Forest Demon Deacons, who faced off in a game that was really for a potential NIT tournament resume. One of the best players in the ACC, K.J. McDaniels scored a disappointing 10 points for the Tigers, going just 1-7 from three-point range. Clemson didn’t play that poorly, but Wake Forest went over 50 percent from the field and got 12 points off the bench from Tyler Cavanaugh. The Demon Deacons also benefited from Tigers’ center Landry Nnoko fouling out en route to a 62-57 victory.
Clemson will be disappointed that they’ve come so far with the only possible chance of making it to the 2014 NCAA tournament through winning the ACC tournament. More disappointing will be the fact that six of their 10 losses have come by six points or less. This will be a season that could have been great for Clemson, but the Tigers still have a little bit of fight left. I doubt they’ll win the ACC tournament, but this team definitely has a chance of knocking out a conference favorite.