March 15, 2004
Clemson played its most difficult schedule in history in 2003-04. That is demonstrated in many areas. First, Clemson’s schedule is ranked second in the nation by the Sagarin computer index published by USA Today (as of March 16). The schedule ranked sixth in the nation according to collegerpi.com. Sagarin does a final ranking at the end of the season, while collegerpi.com does not.
A further examination of the NCAA and NIT fields shows that Clemson played 23 games against teams that qualified for postseason play, including 16 games against teams that are playing in the NCAA Tournament. The 16 games against teams in the tournament ties the school record also set in 1985-86 and 1988-89.
Ten different teams, six from the ACC and four non-conference squads are playing in the NCAA Tournament the most in school history. Clemson faced nine different teams during the regular season that went on to the NCAA Tournament in 1985-86, 1988-89, 1990-91, 1996-97 and 1997-98.
Each of Clemson’s last 18 games of the season and 23 of the last 25 were against teams who advanced to postseason play. The 23 games against teams that went to postseason play is a record for one Clemson season and the 82.1 percent of games played (23 of 28) against postseason tournament teams is also a Clemson record. Clemson’s non-conference schedule included games against NCAA Tournament teams South Carolina, Cincinnati, East Tennessee State and Boston College, plus NIT participants Georgia and Purdue.
On a national scale, Clemson’s 16 games against teams in the NCAA Tournament is topped only by the 18 games Duke played against the field during the season. Georgia Tech, Clemson, Florida, NC State and Maryland all had 16 games against NCAA teams. Clemson had a 4-12 record against the teams in the NCAA field, including wins over Boston College, East Tennessee State, NC State and North Carolina.
It is interesting to note that Clemson had more wins over NCAA Tournament teams than Gonzaga (3-2), Kansas (2-6), Southern Illinois (1-3), Alabama (3-9), Brigham Young (3-4), Utah (2-5), Michigan State (1-8), Arizona (3-6) and Richmond (3-10) and the same amount as Illinois (4-4) and Texas Tech (4-6).
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