Drama set to unfold Sunday

Selection Sunday promises plenty of drama this year as the Tigers sit squarely on the bubble according to many projections across cyberspace.

Nothing will be known officially until the NCAA Selection Show 6 PM Eastern Sunday evening, but the debate on whether Clemson belongs in the NCAA Tournament, out of the NCAA Tournament or part of the "First Four" remains a hot topic.

Many experts point to the fact the Tigers have zero wins against teams RPI top 50 as a main reason why there is so much uncertainty.

However the Tigers are 4-1 against teams in teams ranked between 51-61, according to WarrenNolan.com.

Clemson figures to have an edge over fellow ACC bubble team Boston College, having defeated the Eagles twice, including 70-47 two days ago at the ACC Tournament.

The Tigers also defeated Virginia Tech, another team from the ACC who is sweating out its postseason fate, in their lone matchup at Littlejohn Coliseum just eight days ago, and took No. 7 North Carolina to overtime Saturday.

But other teams considered to be in a similar position to the Tigers have the edge in terms of quality wins, such as Virginia Tech's win over No. 5 Duke or St. Mary's beating St. John's earlier this season.

ESPN's Joe Lunardi suggests in a video update as of Sunday morning seven teams are fighting for four spots, listing Clemson, Virginia Tech, USC, Georgia, Alabama, St. Mary's and Boston College as the teams who could be in or out.

Right now Lunardi has Clemson in the field of 68, but as the 65th selection, meaning the Tigers would play in Dayton, Ohio as part of the "First Four."

It should be noted he moved the Tigers down his list of at-large candidates overnight after Penn State advanced to the Big Ten Championship game by beating Michigan State Saturday and Colorado made a decent run in the Big 12 Tournament.

Clemson head coach Brad Brownell will host a private viewing of the Selection Show this evening with his players as the Tigers await their postseason fate. (AP)
The one key matchup still left on the table Sunday for the remaining at-large candidates is Dayton vs. Richmond for the Atlantic 10 title.

Should Dayton upset the Spiders, it would likely steal a bid from the seven teams listed above, according to Lunardi, as Richmond has done enough to clinch a bid having beaten Temple Saturday and nationally-ranked Purdue earlier this year.

While much remains uncertain, it is safe to say the expansion of this year's field to 68 helps Clemson's chances.

However if the Tigers are one of the last four at-large teams selected in this year's field, it will be a part of the "First Four" games in this year's NCAA Tournament.

The "First Four" will be played in Dayton Tuesday and Wednesday evening before the second round games begin Thursday and Friday.

Clemson head coach Brad Brownell said Saturday after the Tigers' overtime loss to No. 7 North Carolina he believed his team had proved its worth and then some.

"Look at our team now, not in November," he said. "Some teams haven't gotten better in the season, they've gotten worse. Our team has gotten better.

"I'm constantly hearing about other teams. Coming from a smaller media market, I hope enough is going to be made about us. Our team has continued to get better and improve.

"I know we're one of the best teams."

Brownell is right, of course. The Tigers suffered through an early three-game losing streak before conference play began, including a 1 point loss to CAA Champion Old Dominion and a home loss to NCAA Tournament-bound Michigan while the team tried to grasp the new concepts of a first year coaching staff.

Based on a number of factors, including Clemson's 4-1 combined mark against FSU, Virginia Tech and Boston College, we here at CUTigers believe the Tigers will make the Field of 68.

Whether or not the Tigers' resume is good enough to avoid the opening round games in Dayton remains to be seen.

For now, our official projection will be for Clemson to play Georgia in Dayton, meaning the Tigers will be either an 11 or 12 seed in this year's Big Dance. How it actually plays out won't be known until 6 PM today when the entire field is revealed on the Selection Show on CBS.

Here's a look what some are saying about Clemson's chances as of Sunday morning:
ESPN: link (Clemson in First Four)
WARRENNOLAN: link (Clemson a 12 seed in field of 64)
CBS: link (Clemson in First Four)
FOXSPORTS: link (Clemson in tournament)
BRACKETOLOGY: link (Clemson in First Four)
SPORTS ILLUSTRATED: link (Clemson in First Four)
USATODAY: link (Clemson in but needs Dayton to lose today)

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