Clemson remains firmly on the bubble and in the top four in the Atlantic Coast Conference despite its season-high three-game losing streak.
The Tigers (18-7, 10-4 ACC), who host Florida State (8-18, 6-9) on Wednesday night, know they cannot afford another loss — especially to the struggling Seminoles — if they are to keep their NCAA Tournament hopes from dwindling.
ESPN bracketologist Joe Lunardi has Clemson at the bottom of his “Last Four Teams In” as of Tuesday and as a No. 11 seed, which would put the Tigers in the First Four play-in round.
“We’re not going to overreact,” Clemson coach Brad Brownell said Saturday following his team’s disappointing 91-71 loss at North Carolina. “We’ve played a lot of good basketball. Very few teams don’t have a bad week. We’ve had a little bit of a bad week…There’s still probably 12 or 13 teams in the league that would probably love to change places with us.”
The Tigers have struggled defensively in their recent losses especially from the perimeter where Miami made nine three-pointers and North Carolina made 15.
Florida State wouldn’t seem to present a threat in that regard as it will enter Wednesday’s game shooting only 33.7 percent from 3-point range and averaging 70.2 points per game.
The Seminoles are coming off back-to-back single-digit losses at home to Syracuse and Pitt where they were unable to hold on to late leads.
Florida State shot 42.4 percent overall but made just 5 of 21 shots from 3-point range while converting 20 of 24 free throws against Pitt.
The Seminoles are on pace for their worst season under longtime coach Leonard Hamilton. One more defeat would match their highest loss total in his 21-year tenure. But he told College Hoops Today recently that he has no plans to retire.
“I feel like I have more work to do here at Florida State,” the 74-year-old Hamilton said. “I don’t play golf. I don’t hunt. I don’t fish. And I don’t like to travel.”
–Field Level Media