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Joe Girard talks importance of Clemson’s seeding, ACC standings

It’s that time of year when some of the more fortunate basketball programs are focusing less on making the NCAA tournament and more on things like seeding — both for the Big Dance and for conference tournaments.

In Clemson’s case, the Tigers are hoping to finish in the top four of league standings in order to earn a double bye when the ACC Tournament begins March 12 at Washington’s Capital One Arena (home of the NBA’s Washington Wizards among other teams).

The Tigers (19-8 overall, 9-7 conference), who are projected as a No. 5 seed in the NCAA tournament by many bracketologists, are currently fifth in the ACC standings, one game behind Wake Forest (18-9, 10-6).

The Demon Deacons pulled an 83-79 upset over No. 9 Duke on Saturday, while Clemson earned a 74-63 victory over Florida State. Clemson will travel to Winston-Salem for the regular season finale March 9 in what could be a pivotal game for both teams. Not only for conference seeding, but for a Wake Forest team that entered this weekend on the outside of the NCAA tournament bubble.

For Clemson senior Joe Girard, it’s more of a standard fare “one-game-at-a-time” approach. Still, Girard admitted after Saturday’s game that Tigers coach Brad Brownell had spoken to his team about the importance of conference seeding and the possibility of not having to play until Thursday of the ACC Tournament.

“We’ve lost to some of the teams at the bottom of the ACC, and we beat some of the teams at the top of the league,” Girard said. “The double bye obviously really helps in the ACC Tournament to get to that (No. 4) spot. But you can’t really worry too much about what other teams are doing and what’s going on with their schedules. You’ve just got to beat the ones in front of you. If that happens, we’ll be in a good spot.”

Clemson has just four games remaining on its regular season schedule. The Tigers face Pitt Tuesday night before traveling to South Bend to take on Notre Dame. After that, Clemson gets Syracuse at home before the regular season finale with Wake Forest.

Tipoff for Tuesday’s game against Pitt is scheduled for 7 p.m. EST at Littlejohn Coliseum. The game will be televised by ACC Network.

Story originally appeared on Clemson Wire