The Clemson Tigers kept their NCAA tournament dreams alive on Tuesday with a gutty 58-54 win over the Miami Hurricanes. The win was the Tigers’ fourth in five games and gives them 19 for the season — one win away from the magic number of 20 wins that always looks good on a team’s NCAA tournament resume.
To get that twentieth win, the Tigers will have to beat a team who has all of a sudden found itself on the bubble as well, the Pittsburgh Panthers. Luckily for the Tigers, they will get to play the game at the friendly confines of LittleJohn Coliseum. The Tigers are 13-3 at home this year.
The game Saturday against Pittsburgh might as well be an elimination game for the Tigers. A 20th win would go a long way in moving the Tigers to the higher end of the bubble. It would close the gap between the Tigers and other Bubble teams, including the Panthers. The Panthers beat the Tigers soundly on Jan. 21, and the Tigers can ill afford to lose to them again.
More importantly, a win against the Panthers would have the Tigers winning five of their last six games, and have them finish a respectable 11-7 regular season record in the ACC. If the Tigers could somehow find a way to win two games in the ACC tournament they would finish 22-11 and could make a strong case for a NCAA tournament bid.
The win tonight was big, but if the Tigers hope to have any chance at making the Big Dance, they will have to beat the Panthers on Saturday.
Jason Love is a writer for Rant Sports. You can follow him on Twitter @JloveWshs