What you need to know about Clemson, Auburn's 2nd-round NCAA Tournament opponent

Saturday, March 17, 2018

What you need to know about Clemson, Auburn's 2nd-round NCAA Tournament opponent

A win is a win, regardless of how ugly it is. That was the case for fourth-seeded Auburn in its NCAA Tournament opener against 13th-seeded College of Charleston on Friday night.

The Tigers struggled offensively but escaped with a 62-58 win against the Cougars. Auburn's next task? A second-round matchup with fifth-seeded Clemson, which took down 12th-seeded New Mexico State, 79-68, late Friday night.

Here's what you need to know about Clemson ahead of the teams' 6:10 p.m. showdown on Sunday in San Diego, which will be broadcast on TBS:

-- Best win: North Carolina. Clemson defeated North Carolina (a No. 2 seed in the Tournament) 82-78 on Jan. 30 at home. The Tar Heels finished the year with the No. 4 RPI.

-- Best loss: Virginia. Before Virginia became the first No. 1 seed to get upset by a No. 16 seed, the Cavaliers put together the most impressive resume in the country while earning the top overall seed in the field. Clemson lost both of its meetings with Virginia (No. 1 RPI), with the "better" one on the resume coming in the form of a 61-36 road loss on Jan. 23.

-- Worst loss: Temple. While the Owls finished the season with an RPI of 52, they still marked the worst loss on Clemson's resume -- a 67-60 neutral-site loss in the Charleston Classic (which Auburn also played in) on Nov. 19.

-- Worst win: Samford. Clemson defeated Samford, with its 296 RPI, back on Dec. 9, 81-59, at home.

-- Q1 and Q2 record: 11-9. Clemson went 4-8 against Q1 teams (including a 2-8 record against those teams in ACC play) and 7-1 against Q2 teams (with a 6-0 mark in ACC play) this season.

-- Q3 and Q4 record: 12-0. Simply put, Clemson beat the teams it should have beat this season, avoiding any truly bad losses.

-- Common opponents this season: Four -- Florida, South Carolina, Temple and Hofstra. Clemson beat Florida, 71-69, in December. The Gators defeated Auburn in SEC play last month. Clemson also beat South Carolina in December, 64-48. The Gamecocks split their two SEC meetings with Auburn, which clinched the league title with a win against South Carolina in the teams' regular-season finale. Clemson beat Hofstra, 78-59, in the Charleston Classic and then lost to Temple in the final game of that event, which Auburn also participated in. Auburn lost to Temple but beat Hofstra that week.

"The thing about the Clemson matchup is we were together in Charleston, so they were preparing for us, and we were preparing for them," Auburn coach Bruce Pearl said last week. "We've got three live scouts on them, and they've got three live scouts on us. So there will be a lot of knowledge there."

-- All-time record against Auburn: 12-15. The teams have met 27 times, with Clemson winning the most recent meeting, 72-61, on Dec. 14, 2014 in Clemson during Pearl's first year at Auburn.

-- Clemson has five players who finished the regular season averaging double-figure scoring, led by Marcquise Reed's 15.9 points per game. Donte Grantham (14.2), Gabe Devoe (13.2), Shelton Mitchell (12) and Elija Thomas (10.8) round out the group. Clemson is without Grantham, however, as he sustained a season-ending knee injury back in January.

-- Entering Sunday's game, Clemson ranks 45th nationally in adjusted offense (113.9), ninth in adjusted defense (93.6) and 287th in adjusted tempo, according to

Tom Green is an Auburn beat reporter for Alabama Media Group. Follow him on Twitter @Tomas_Verde.

from Auburn Sports Impact

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