Brad Brownell angered over Clemson's NCAA Tournament snub, says it's 'hard to justify'
Brad Brownell said at a news conference on Monday that he was “disappointed” and “a little bit angry” with the NCAA Tournament selection committee after the Clemson Tigers were left out of the Field of 68 and relegated to the NIT.
The Tigers went 23-10 on the season, had a top-4 seed in the ACC Tournament, and advanced to the tournament semis before falling to Virginia. It was a record season for Clemson in the ACC, winning 14 league games for the first time as a member of the conference.
But the Tigers were one of the last teams left out of the field, giving them a No. 1 seed in the NIT. Clemson had 4 Quad 1 victories and notably 3 victories over an NC State team that made it into the field. Clemson didn’t just beat NC State either, it smoked the Wolfpack by 20-plus points in each of the final 2 meetings, both of which took place away from home.
“Obviously, an emotional 24 hours. Certainly disappointed. A little bit angry at what’s taken place here with the selection committee. But at the end of the day, I’m just really proud of this team,” Brownell said Monday, per The Post and Courier’s Jon Blau. “The committee has a hard job. A lot of the teams were very similar in certain ways. We all have our warts, we have all things we’ve done well. … Unfortunately, we lost a couple of games we probably shouldn’t have and we put it in the committee’s hands.
“Having said all that, I still adamantly believe they made a mistake. It’s hard to listen to some of the things that were said. It’s all metrics, is what it looks like. There are so many metrics, they pick and choose.”
Brownell said there was a game this season where Clemson was up big late and he made the conscious decision to leave his older players on the floor to preserve a better margin of victory — something the committee says it takes into account. Brownell said it’s the first time he’s done that, per Blau.
He also said he feels the Tigers aren’t “treated the same” in the ACC/Big Ten Challenge, asking why they aren’t able to face a high-profile team like Indiana or Purdue to help their résumé.
“We proved we can beat several of the teams that got in and we can beat them at home and beat them on the road and beat them at neutral, and we did that,” Brownell said, per Blau. “It’s hard to justify that to your players.”
The Tigers will get the chance to take out their frustrations on Wednesday when they open NIT play against Morehead State. Tip-off is slated for 7 p.m. ET on ESPN+.