Revamped ACC, non-league schedule presents wall-to-wall challenge for Tigers

Whatever Brad Brownell's Tigers accomplish in 2013-14, it won't come easy

Clemson's Jordan Roper drives past Florida State's Montay Brandon in the second half.

Photo by Nathan Gray

Clemson's Jordan Roper drives past Florida State's Montay Brandon in the second half.

Whatever Brad Brownell's Tigers accomplish in 2013-14, it won't come easy.

In conjunction with the ACC's release of its 18-game conference schedule, Clemson announced a non-conference slate that includes early-season home contests against South Carolina and Coastal Carolina, games against Auburn and Arkansas, and three games in the Charleston Classic.

The Tigers will open home-and-home series this season against Auburn and the Razorbacks. Clemson has played Arkansas just once in its history, in 1961-62. The game date and location between the Tigers and Razorbacks will be announced at a later time.

The two Tiger teams will play at Auburn Arena on Thursday, Dec. 19. Clemson has played Auburn 25 times, with the SEC Tigers holding a 14-11 all-time series advantage. The last meeting between the two was in the 1993 NIT, when Cliff Ellis was coaching at Clemson. He would later be the head coach at Auburn from 1994-2004.

Ellis is now at Coastal Carolina, and he will bring the Chanticleers to Littlejohn Coliseum for a game at Clemson on Nov. 29.

The game with South Carolina was moved up several weeks from the first weekend of December slot it had occupied the last several years. The two teams will meet on Sunday, Nov. 17, the third game of the season for the Tigers. Clemson will open the 2013-14 season at home on Friday, Nov. 8 against Stetson, followed by a Nov. 13 contest at home against Delaware State.

Following the South Carolina game, Clemson will travel to the Charleston Classic on Nov. 21-24 to compete in the opening round of that event against Temple, who has advanced to each of the last six NCAA Tournaments. Clemson and Temple last met in the 2008 championship game of the inaugural Charleston Classic, with the Tigers prevailing 76-72. The winner will advance to face the winner of the Davidson vs. Georgia game on Nov. 22.

"It's great to have several regional games on the schedule," Brownell said. "Obviously we play South Carolina earlier this year, but with games against Arkansas and Auburn and a chance to play either Davidson or Georgia, that can create a lot of interest for our fans and allow us to play good, quality teams from our region."

After the Tigers play at Auburn on Dec. 19, Brownell's team will have just one game (vs. VMI at home on Dec. 30) before beginning regular season ACC play on Jan. 4 at Boston College. Duke comes to Littlejohn Coliseum on Jan. 11, the back end of a two-day turnaround at home for the Tigers.

Following a Jan. 18 home against Wake Forest, Clemson will play five of its next six games on the road. Four of the five teams played in the NCAA Tournament last season, and three will be versus teams new to the ACC in 2013-14. Clemson plays at Pittsburgh on Jan. 21, at Syracuse on Feb. 9 and at Notre Dame on Feb. 11.

Clemson will end the ACC regular season with three straight home games, starting with a matchup against Maryland on Sunday, March 2. The final two games will be against Miami (March 4) and Pitt (March 8). The last time Clemson ended the regular season with three straight home games was in 1968-69.

"The ACC schedule will certainly be a challenge, but one we look forward to," Brownell said. "In particular, our players and coaches are excited by the opportunity to play road games against our new members, Notre Dame, Pittsburgh and Syracuse."

Clemson will play home-and-home ACC series with Florida State, Georgia Tech, Pittsburgh and Wake Forest. The Tigers will play home games only against Duke, Maryland, Miami, NC State and Virginia. Clemson will play road games only versus Boston College, North Carolina, Notre Dame, Syracuse and Virginia Tech.

The 61st annual ACC Tournament will be held at the Greensboro Coliseum, March 12-16. It will begin on a Wednesday, with three games scheduled for the opening round. Thursday and Friday will continue to have four games both days at the tournament.

Note: Television designations and tipoff times have not yet been made for all non-conference games.

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