Previewing Clemson

No. 11 seed NC State will face No. 6 seed Clemson tomorrow in the opening round of the 2010 ACC Tournament. Pack Pride takes a closer look at the Tigers -- tip-off is at 9:00 p.m. and the game will be televised on Raycom.



    2 Demontez Stitt (6-2, 175, Jr.) – 11.2 ppg, 2.7 rpg
    5 Tanner Smith (6-5, 220, So.) – 9.0 ppg, 4.2 rpg
    15 David Potter (6-6, 215, Sr.) – 7.2 ppg, 2.7 rpg
    35 Trevor Booker (6-7, 240, Sr.) – 15.3 ppg, 8.3 rpg
    45 Jerai Grant (6-8, 220, Jr.) – 7.1 ppg, 4.6 rpg

    11 Andre Young (5-9, 170, So.) – 9.1 ppg, 2.1 rpg
    1 Noel Johnson (6-6, 190, Fr.) – 4.5 ppg, 1.9 rpg
    31 Devin Booker (6-8, 235, Fr.) – 4.7 ppg, 3.0 rpg
    24 Milton Jennings (6-9, 225, Fr.) – 3.5 ppg, 2.8 rpg

    Trevor Booker: The Clemson standout is an All-ACC pick and has had a great year. A fierce competitor, Booker can score in the paint and dominate the glass.

    Clemson Game Notes

    • Clemson has won six of its last nine games since Jan. 31, including a nine-point win over Maryland on that date. Four of the six wins are against RPI top 50 teams. Clemson is tied for second in the nation in top 50 wins during that time. Maryland has the most with five, while Clemson, Kansas and Texas A&M all have four since Jan. 31.

    • Clemson has an RPI of #27 entering games of March 9. Since 1991, 99.3 percent of at large teams ranked 1-30 in the RPI have made the NCAA Tournament, 83 percent of teams ranked 31-40, 55.1 percent of teams ranked 41-50 and 25.7 percent of teams ranked 51-60.

    • Clemson has defeated NC State five consecutive times, the longest streak by the Tigers against another ACC team since Clemson won six in a row over NC State from 1992-93 to 1994-95.

    • Clemson has not played NC State in the ACC Tournament since the 1994 event when the Tigers gained victory in an opening round game, 76-63.

    • If Clemson can reach the NCAA Tournament this year it would give the Tigers three straight years in the event, tying the school record for consecutive NCAA appearances. Clemson also had three in a row under Rick Barnes from 1996-98.

    •Entering this week Clemson had an RPI of 27 and a strength of schedule of 23. According to Sagarin, Clemson had a rating of 25 and a strength of schedule of 31.

    •Clemson has a 21-9 overall record and a 9-7 record in the ACC. The Tigers have won five of their last seven to close the regular season. It ties for the second best seven-game record for the Tigers entering the ACC tournament since 1966-67, just the second time Clemson has done it since 1997-98.

    •Clemson has won four games against RPI top 50 teams since Jan. 31, tied for second best in the nation and one of just four schools with at least four top 50 wins in that period of time. Clemson has four overall, including a win over Butler back in November. Maryland has the most top 50 wins since Jan. 31 with five, while Clemson, Texas A&M and top ranked Kansas have four apiece. One of Clemson's wins is over Maryland. Clemson and Duke are the only two teams to beat Maryland since Jan. 31.

    •Clemson achieved this record by playing arguably the toughest conference schedule in the ACC. The Tigers had 10 games against the other top seven ACC teams (including Clemson as a top seven so just six other schools), more than any other school in the league. Conversely, Clemson played just one game apiece against the bottom four ACC teams in the standings, the only school to play just four games against the bottom four teams.

    •Clemson has played 12 games against the RPI top 50, tied for fifth most in the nation. North Carolina (16), Texas Tech (15), Kansas (13), and Texas A&M (13) are the only schools who have played more RPI top 50 teams. Clemson, Duke, Georgetown, Illinois and St. John's have all played 12.

    Clemson has a 16-56 record in the ACC Tournament with just two appearances in the finals (1962 and 2008) and no tournament championships. Clemson is the only original member of the ACC that has never won the ACC Tournament. There have been 56 ACC tournaments and Clemson has played in all of them.

    •Clemson has struggled in the ACC Tournament over the years and has never won more than five games in any decade. Clemson was 5-10 in the 1990s, 1-10 in the 1980s, 3-10 in the 1970s, 3-10 in the 1960s and 0-6 in the 1950s. Clemson finished 4-10 in the first decade of the 21st century, including a 3-6 record under Oliver Purnell. The 2010 tournament begins a new decade.

    •Purnell has taken Clemson to three memorable ACC Tournament wins. The first win at Washington, DC in 2005 against Maryland, gave the Tigers three wins over the Terps that year, a first in Clemson history.

    •In 2008, he took the Tigers to the ACC championship game for the first time in 46 years with wins over Boston College and Duke. The win over Boston College was by 34 points, the largest victory margin in Clemson history in a postseason game and tied for Clemson's largest victory margin over an ACC team regardless of site. The win over Duke was against a seventh-ranked Blue Devil team and it broke a 22-game Clemson losing streak to the Blue Devils.

    •Clemson defeated Maryland in the 2005 ACC Tournament, 84-72 in the first round, then lost to North Carolina, 88-81 in the second round. That North Carolina team went on to win the National Championship. Clemson had a 13-point lead in the second half of that game.

    •Clemson has won an ACC Tournament game in consecutive years just twice, the 1993 and 1994 seasons, and in three consecutive years under Bill Foster, 1975, 1976 and 1977.

    *One of Clemson's most exciting victories in the ACC Tournament took place in the 1996 tournament in Greensboro when Clemson downed North Carolina, 75-73. It is Clemson's only win over North Carolina in the ACC Tournament and it was Clemson's first win over the Tar Heels in the state of North Carolina in 29 years. Greg Buckner's dunk with 0.6 seconds left won the game for Clemson.

    *Clemson is 3-13 in Raleigh, 5-12 in Charlotte, 5-21 in Greensboro, 1-5 in Atlanta, 1-3 in Landover, MD, 1-1 in Washington, DC and 0-1 in Tampa, FL over the years in ACC Tournament play.

    *Clemson has a record of 3-9 in the first round (including a 3-5 record in the 8 vs.9 game), 11-36 in the quarterfinals, 2-9 in the semifinals and 0-2 in the finals for an overall 16-56 record in ACC tournament play.

    •Clemson lost its first eight ACC Tournament games between 1954-61. Its first win in the tournament was a 67-46 victory in 1962 over NC State in Raleigh. That 21-point victory is the second largest margin of victory in Clemson history in an ACC Tournament game trailing only the 34-point win over Boston College in 2008.

    *Clemson has been seeded in the top four of the ACC Tournament just 12 times in the 56 tournaments. Clemson is 8-12 as a top four seed. The year Clemson reached the finals of the event (1962), Clemson was seeded sixth. Clemson is just 8-43 as a number five seed or lower.

    •Clemson has been the number-one seed just once, 1990, the only year Clemson won the regular season of the ACC. Clemson won a first round game with Wake Forest that year in Charlotte, but lost to Virginia in the semifinals.

    *Clemson has reached the tournament semifinals 11 times, including four times in the 1990s (1990, 1993, 1996 and 1998). Clemson did not reach the semifinals any year between 1981-89. Clemson went from 1999 until 2007 without reaching the semifinals. That streak ended in 2008 with the trip to the championship.

    *Clemson has been to the ACC Tournament Championship game just twice, in 1962 and in 2008. In 1962 Clemson was seeded sixth in the tournament in Raleigh and upset #3 NC State and #2 Duke before losing to #1 seed Wake Forest, who was led by point guard Billy Packer. Clemson had been 0-2 during the regular season against both NC State and Duke that year. Wake Forest went on to the Final Four. Jim Brennan scored 34 points in Clemson's semifinal victory over Duke in 1962. Duke was ranked eighth in the nation overall heading into that tournament and it is the second highest ranked team Clemson has beaten in the ACC Tournament. In 2008 Clemson beat a seventh ranked Duke team in the semifinals.

    •Clemson is 1-1 as the number-one seed, 0-1 as #2, 5-6 as #3, 2-5 as #4, 1-5 as #5, 3-8 as #6, 1-12 as #7, 1-12 as #8 and 2-7 as #9. Clemson will be the number-six seed this year when it faces NC State.

    *In ACC Tournament play Clemson is 4-5 vs. Duke, 2-4 vs. Florida State, 0-3 vs. Georgia Tech, 2-9 vs. Maryland, 1-14 vs. North Carolina, 2-5 vs. NC State, 1-0 vs. Boston College, 1-6 vs. Virginia, 0-1 vs. Miami (FL), 3-7 vs. Wake Forest and 0-2 vs. South Carolina. Clemson has never played Virginia Tech. Clemson has played Florida State six of the last 17 tournaments and would play the Seminoles in the second round if it defeats NC State on Thursday.

    *Clemson's only postseason tournament championship in history took place in 1939 when the Tigers won four games in four days at the Southern Conference Tournament in Raleigh. The Tigers defeated North Carolina, Wake Forest, Davidson and Maryland to win the event. Clemson did not lead at the half in any of those games. Banks McFadden, who passed away just three years ago, was the star of the Clemson team.

    Historically, in games involving Clemson, the winner of the most recent regular season meeting has been an indicator of who will win the ACC Tournament game. However, the trend is not as prevalent over the last 29 games.

    In Clemson's previous 72 ACC Tournament games, the team that has won the most recent regular season game, has gone on to win the ACC Tournament game 49 times. That is a 68 winning percentage.

    However, over the last 29 ACC tournament games involving Clemson, the team that has won the most recent regular season game has won the ACC Tournament game just 17 times, a 59 percent winning percentage. Clemson played three ACC Tournament games in 2008 and the team that had won the most recent regular season game won the tournament game twice. Last year Clemson beat Georgia Tech twice in the regular season, then lost to the Yellow Jackets in the ACC Tournament.

    This year Clemson will play NC State after the Tigers won the only regular season meeting earlier in January.

    It is interesting to note that all six previous ACC Tournament meetings between Clemson and Florida State the team that won the ACC Tournament game had lost the most recent regular season game. That includes 2000-01 when Florida State swept Clemson during the regular season and the Tigers won the ACC Tournament game, and in 2006-07 when Clemson swept Florida State, but lost the ACC Tournament game. Clemson would play Florida State on Friday if it defeats NC State in the first round and Clemson swept the regular season series this year.

    Clemson forward Trevor Booker was named first-team All-ACC by the Atlantic Coast Sports Media Association (ACSMA). He was also named to the league's All-Defensive Team for the second straight season. Booker was the only player to be named both first-team All-ACC and to the league's All-Defensive Team this season and is the first Clemson player to make both teams in the same season.

    With the announcement, Booker became the first frontcourt player from Clemson to receive first-team honors since Elden Campbell and Dale Davis in 1990. Clemson's most recent first-team honoree prior to Booker, regardless of position, was guard Edward Scott in 2003. Booker is just the third Clemson player to be named first-team All-ACC in the last 20 years.

    Malcolm Delaney of Virginia Tech, Jon Scheyer and Kyle Singler of Duke, and Greivis Vasquez of Maryland comprised the rest of the first team. Booker received the fourth-highest vote total, behind unanimous selections Delaney, Scheyer and Vasquez.

    Booker leads the Tigers (21-9, 9-7) in scoring at 15.3 points per game, and in rebounding with 8.3 per contest. It is the second straight season Booker has led Clemson in both statistical categories, and the fourth straight year he has led the Tigers in rebounding. He is also one of only three players in the ACC with at least 40 blocked shots and 40 steals. An all-around player, Booker actually led the team in assists with 42 during ACC regular season play and is second on the team overall with 75 assists.

    Entering the ACC Tournament, Booker is fifth in Clemson history with 1,697 points and third with 1,041 rebounds. He is one of only eight players to currently rank in the top five of both categories at an ACC school. He is one of just six active Division I players with at least 1,500 points and 1,000 rebounds. He also stands fourth in school history with 248 blocked shots and 10th with 143 steals.

    Booker made first-team All-ACC Tournament in 2008 and now joins Skip Wise as the only players in Clemson history to make first-team All-ACC and first-team All-ACC Tournament over a career. This is the third straight year Clemson has had an all-conference selection in men's basketball. In 2007-08, K.C. Rivers was named second-team All-ACC and Cliff Hammonds was named to the third team. Last season, Booker was a second-team choice.

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