Arizona Basketball

Early look at Arizona’s Sweet 16 opponent Clemson

The No. 2 Arizona Wildcats (27-8) will play No. 6 Clemson (23-11) in the Sweet 16 at Los Angeles on Thursday (4:09 p.m., CBS). It is Clemson’s fifth Sweet 16 appearance, first since 2018. Arizona is making its 21st trip to the Sweet 16, first since 2022. Here is an early preview of Clemson:


Coach: Brad Brownell (14th season: 264-188; 431-273 in 22 seasons overall)

Record: 23-11

ACC finish: 11-9, tied for fifth

How they’re in NCAA Tournament: At-large bid

NCAA tournament history: 14th appearance (13-13)

Previous NCAA tournament: 2021 (lost to Rutgers, 60-56, in first round)

Best finish: Elite Eight in 1980

Series with Arizona: Wildcats lead 3-0, last meeting Dec. 8, 2012, 66-54 win by Arizona at Clemson

NCAA Tournament history with Arizona: 1989, lost 94-68 in second round at Boise, Idaho, to Arizona (Sean Elliott led Arizona with 25 points and Matt Muehlebach added 19 while Clemson was led by Elden Campbell’s 24 points)


C PJ Hall, 6-10, 238 (18.7 PPG, 6.5 RPG, 49.3% FG)

F Jack Clark, 6-10, 207 (4.4 PPG, 4.9 RPG)

F Ian Schieffelin, 6-8, 238 (9.8 PPG, 9.6 RPG, 2.2 APG, 57.1% FG)

G Chase Hunter, 6-4, 200 (12.5 PPG, 3.0 RPG, 2.4 APG)

G Joe Girard III, 6-2, 189 (15.4, 3.3 RPG, 2.8 APG, 42.9% FG, 41.9% 3PT, 94.8% FT)

Strengths: Clemson upset then-No. 3 North Carolina, 80-76, on Feb. 6 in Chapel Hill, N.C., for the program’s highest-ranked win in four years. … Hall, a senior, is fourth Tiger to amass 1,600 points, 600 rebounds and 100 blocks in his career, along with Campbell, Trevor Booker and Dale Davis. … Clemson is also 11-0 this season when it makes 40 percent or better of its shots from 3-point range. … Another impressive road win was Clemson over Alabama 85-77 on Nov. 28. … Clemson’s defense in the NCAA Tournament wins over New Mexico and Baylor at Memphis this weekend was impressive. New Mexico shot 29.7 percent (19 of 64) from the field and 13 percent (3 of 23) from 3-point range against the Tigers in a 77-56 loss. Baylor was 38.9 percent (21 of 54) from the floor and 25 percent (6 of 24) from beyond the arc in the 72-64 defeat.

Weaknesses:  ESPN’s Jay Bilas said last week during the March Madness Selection Show that the Tigers have “been uninspired at certain times this year” (losing at home to Virginia and Georgia Tech, for example) but the Tigers looked focused and energized in wins over New Mexico and Baylor in Memphis. … Clemson does not have much history this deep in the NCAA Tournament. The current roster has little NCAA tourney experience. The Tigers last made the Sweet 16 in 2018. They have only one Elite Eight appearance — in 1980. … On-the-ball defense — entering the NCAA tournament, Clemson ranked 341st in the country in turnovers forced per game (9.3). None of the Tigers averages at least one steal per game. Hall as a post player is the uncommon leader in steals averaging 0.8 a game.

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