After starting the year 7-5 with losses to UMass and Minnesota, Clemson entered conference play looking like a bottom-half ACC team that could be NIT-bound, at best. After dropping No. 8 Miami at home on Saturday, Brad Brownell has this Tigers’ team near the top of the ACC standings at 5-1 and looking like one of the 25 or 30 best teams in the nation.
Clemson has a good argument to be in the polls on Monday after beating Duke and Miami in the last week, following a week that was highlighted by wins at Syracuse and against Louisville. The Tigers had no top-200 wins before starting ACC play and now the Tigers have three straight wins against ranked teams for the first time in school history.
Jaron Blossomgame continued his impressive run of late with a game-high 25 points and seven boards and Jordan Roper added 18 points in the win.
FINAL: Clemson 76, Miami 65. Tigers beat 3 straight ranked opponents for 1st time in school history!!! pic.twitter.com/h81pF62RJB
— Clemson Basketball (@ClemsonMBB) January 16, 2016
For Miami, it’s the second-straight loss since the Hurricanes broke into the top 10 at 13-1. Losing to Virginia on the road wasn’t a reason for Jim Larranaga to be concerned, but at the moment, it’s tough to know if this result says more about the Canes or the Tigers.
Brownell has an experienced team that’s responded well after the slow start, and now he’s got consecutive wins against Rick Pitino, Mike Krzyzewski and Jim Larranaga. Clemson got handed the toughest schedule of any team in the ACC and its only lost to North Carolina. It’s tough to figure out where Clemson will fall in the postseason picture with this complicated resume, but it’s absolutely a team that can hang with, and beat, any team in the ACC.