Jay Bilas said it in no uncertain terms.

Clemson belongs in the NCAA Tournament.

During Thursday night’s broadcast of quarterfinal action between NC State and Clemson at the ACC Tournament, the ESPN analyst said he sees a tournament team when he looks at the Tigers. Bilas also added that forward Hunter Tyson should have won the ACC’s Most Improved Player award, calling the Tigers’ leading scorer a “bonafide star” and a “complete player.”

The Tigers (22-9, 14-6 ACC) received a top-4 seed in the ACC Tournament, but entered play likely needing at least one win to strengthen its case for an at-large bid to the NCAA Tournament.

Clemson is in the “next 4 out” category in Joe Lunardi’s bracket for ESPN. It ranks 61st in the NET, with a 3-3 record in Quad 1 games and a 3-2 record in Q2 games. But the Tigers also have a pair of Q3 losses as well as a pair of Q4 losses.

Though Clemson enjoyed a historic season, setting a program record with 14 ACC wins and securing a rare top-3 seed in the conference tournament, a poor strength of schedule and those aforementioned ugly losses have the Tigers in danger of missing the field if they can’t make noise in Greensboro.

Clemson is not in a single bracket among the 99 different bracket projections aggregated at Bracket Matrix.

It needs to beat NC State. Having some support from Bilas certainly helps, too.