Busting Brackets

NCAA Basketball: BYU, Butler, and Ole Miss among 10 biggest surprises of 2023-24 season

Jumpman Classic: North Carolina v Oklahoma
Jumpman Classic: North Carolina v Oklahoma / Grant Halverson/GettyImages
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7. Clemson Tigers

Although I was reasonably high on the Clemson Tigers (I listed them as one of the “sleeper teams” here, which is why I have them listed at 7), I could not have foreseen just how well this team has played together given their incredibly difficult non-conference schedule.

Last year, despite winning 23 games, the Tigers were demoted to “First Four Out” by the Selection Committee. How so? Not only did the Tigers lose to lowly Louisville, but they also had a KenPom sub-300 NCSOS -- a number that will surely not impress the selection committee.

Flash forward to this year, Brad Brownell has made sure that that won’t happen again.

Clemson, who currently stands at 10-1, has recorded impressive wins over Davidson, Boise State, Alabama on the road, Pittsburgh on the road, South Carolina and TCU.

Their only hiccup, however, came in a 79-77 loss to Memphis on the road. Given how well Memphis has played over the past five games, this loss will not hurt Clemson one bit come Selection Sunday.

What has helped Clemson get to this point is the All-American play of PJ Hall (20.8 Pts, 6.8 Reb, 2.4 Ast) alongside Syracuse transfer Joe Girard (14.8 Pts, 3.7 Reb, 3.7 Ast) and 6-8 forward Ian Schieffelin (8.6 Pts, 9.4 Reb, 2.2 Ast), who leads the team in rebounds.

The Tigers have experienced guard play, an extremely strong frontcourt with a First-Team All-American level player in PJ Hall. Not only is this an NCAA Tournament-caliber team, but this is a team that can go on a deep postseason run come March with a favorable seed.