Clemson's Top 5 Non-Conference Basketball Games

By Ed Morgans

Ranking Clemson's 5 Best Non-ACC Matchups

Clemson
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It will be a year of change for the Clemson Tigers, who begin life without tremendous all-around forward K.J. McDaniel with a non-conference slate that sees the Tigers play just one true road game. Clemson will be home for all but two of their games outside the ACC, and they return four starters, including a key player in point guard Rod Hall. Here are Clemson's top five non-ACC games.

5. Home to Oakland, Dec. 22

Oakland
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5. Home to Oakland, Dec. 22

Oakland
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Oakland is looking to get back to more successful days after suffering through a second straight losing season. But the Golden Griz won at least 20 games every season from 2009 to 2012, and they are type of team that can give Clemson fits. This game also falls late in the non-conference slate when the Tigers will be looking ahead to the holidays and the start of their ACC schedule.

4. Home to Rutgers, Dec. 1

Rutgers
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4. Home to Rutgers, Dec. 1

Rutgers
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The biggest thing about this matchup is Rutgers now being in the Big 10, so that alone makes it a bit of a better matchup for Clemson. The Tigers should win, but if the Scarlet Knights can pull some upsets on their conference schedule, this win could be a boost to Clemson's RPI if the Tigers are a bubble watch team for the NCAA Tournament, as is a likely expectation for this season.

3. Home to Auburn, Dec. 14

Auburn
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3. Home to Auburn, Dec. 14

Auburn
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This game comes in the middle of a three-game stretch in which Clemson plays a trio of SEC opponents. Auburn went 14-16 a season ago and just 6-12 in the SEC, but former Tennessee head coach Bruce Pearl has taken over and that alone will make the Tigers interesting to watch this season. Auburn also returns leading scorer K.T. Harrell (18.3 PPG) and has a good bit of size, including 7-foot redshirt freshman Ronald Delph.

2. Home to Arkansas, Dec. 7

Arkansas
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2. Home to Arkansas, Dec. 7

Arkansas
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Clemson starts their SEC triple-dip with a home game against the Arkansas Razorbacks. Arkansas, while 10-8 and fifth in the SEC last season, was notable for a pair of wins over Kentucky. The Razorbacks finished 22-12 and return three starters, and this will probably be Clemson's toughest game outside the ACC. Arkansas led the SEC in scoring last season and moved the ball well, too, finishing first in assists.

1. Away at South Carolina, Dec. 19

Gamecocks
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1. Away at South Carolina, Dec. 19

Gamecocks
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Clemson's lone true road game outside the ACC is also their biggest, at rival South Carolina. Clemson has won eight of the last 10 in the series, including the two most recent matchups. South Carolina was just 14-20 a season ago, and the Gamecocks really struggled in the SEC, going 5-13 under head coach Frank Martin. Sophomore guard Sindarius Thornwell (13.4 PPG) will be a player Clemson has to watch.

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