Here are five things to know about the Clemson Tigers, who will face the Kansas Jayhawks in the NCAA Tournament Sweet 16 at 6:07 p.m. Central on Friday in Omaha, Neb.
1. The coach for Clemson is Brad Brownell. Though he's not necessarily a household name around these parts, Brownell has spent the last eight seasons with the Tigers, though he previously hadn't made the NCAA Tournament since 2011.
Brownell, who coached at UNC Wilmington and Wright State before Clemson, was a good sport when asked about being in the same regional with remaining coaches Jim Boeheim, Mike Krzyzewski and Bill Self, all members of the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame.
"Nobody is going to know who I am," Brownell said. "It's like coaching the ACC. I don't look down at the other end when we're coaching. That's not good for my mental health. I don't worry about looking at Coach K and Bill Self and Jim Boeheim and Roy Williams and everybody else that coaches in the ACC. If you do that that's not good for you."
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2. Clemson is Transfer U. Five of the Tigers' top eight scorers came to Clemson as their second school. That includes top scorer Marcquise Reed (Robert Morris) along with David Skara (Valparaiso), Elijah Thomas (Texas A&M), Shelton Mitchell (Vanderbilt) and Mark Donnal (Michigan).
Brownell says the staff has started to hold back scholarships to pursue guys who might want a new start at Clemson.
"Kids these days — I don't think there is anything wrong with (transferring)," Brownell said. "When I was a younger coach I did. But now, I think we ask so much of (players) and we can work 'em in the summer, we can do all these things with them, take all their time and kids play 8, 9, 10, 11 minutes as sophomores and juniors. I can understand if a kid wants to go somewhere and start and play 28 minutes when he's done all the things we ask them to do in any program in college at this level.
"That's why so many more kids are leaving, and that's why there are so many more available."
3. Clemson's strength is interior defense. The Tigers rank seventh nationally in two-point percentage defense and also are 23rd in block rate. Their best rim-protector is the 6-foot-9 forward Thomas, who had the highest block percentage of any ACC player during league play. As a whole, Clemson held opponents to 52-percent accuracy on shots at the rim, a mark that ranks 17th nationally.
4. Clemson had a scare during its exhibition trip over the summer. The Tigers, who traveled to Barcelona, Spain, were in town when a man drove a van into a crowd of bystanders, which killed 14 people and injured more than 100 others in what was deemed a terrorist attack. Clemson canceled its exhibition game for that night before returning home as scheduled the next day.
"It certainly gave us pause and allowed us to take a step back," Brownell said, "and, you know, maybe appreciate all the blessings that we have in our lives and to be thankful for a lot of things that sometimes we take for granted."
5. The Tigers have exceeded expectations. Though Brownell thought he had a talented group returning this season, that wasn't the public sentiment. Clemson was picked to finish 13th in the 15-team ACC in the preseason media poll.
Brownell believes that prognostication was the start of his team putting its primary focus on what it could control.
"We haven't let things bother us from the outside," he said. "We haven't concerned ourselves with being 13th in the preseason. ... We just worry about us and what we're doing."