NCAA Predictions: Will Clemson upset Auburn on Sunday? 3/18/18

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					The 4 teams the world picked to make the NCAA Final Four

Auburn had been trending this way for weeks.

Separated by only one seeding spot in the Midwest Regional, the schools that are Southern football powers met Sunday afternoon at Viejas Arena, and Clemson blitzed and bruised Auburn in a lopsided shocker, 84-53.

Clemson shot 47.5 percent from the field and held a 50-32 rebounding advantage.

Heading into Friday night's matchup with 12th-seeded New Mexico State, the Tigers had become the national media's pick to be this season's 12-5 upset special.

Clemson rode a stifling defense and some efficient scoring from the get-go on Sunday evening, dominating the opening half en route to a 43-19 halftime lead over Auburn.

Said Charleston coach Earl Grant: "I don't know what happened. They shredded us", New Mexico State coach Chris Jans said. "I don't really have an answer".

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Auburn played Clemson even for the first eight-plus minutes before everything fell apart as Clemson ripped off a 22-2 surge over a span of 10:05. Brown hit 3-of-4 from long range and scored all 10 of his points in the second half. Both teams excel in the half court defensively and don't shoot at a very high percentage.

Auburn's shooting for the half: 6 of 33 - 18.2 percent. The 17 made field goals mark the program's fewest in a game since it made the same amount during a 97-59 loss to Tennessee in the SEC Tournament on March 9, 2016.

The Tigers also needs Bryce Brown to return to form. "But the rest of us weren't", Auburn coach Bruce Pearl said.

Playing under the cloud of a federal investigation into corruption in college basketball, Auburn overcame a frightful shooting performance to win in its first NCAA Tournament appearance since 2003. "We had a great year, but Clemson's just better". "He is a big, strong guy with great range, a quick trigger, and because, you know, of the way he plays, the confidence he plays with, it's a big part of our team".

Auburn averages 5.4 blocks per game, which ranks 11th in the nation. They'll be up against a hostile crowd in that game.

Brantley played 38 minutes, but said that fatigue was not a factor in such an important game. Clemson played aggressively early on the defensive end, which seemed to rattle the Tigers' guards. We're a small basketball team that's relied on the three-ball all season long and when we're not taking them or not making them we're going to struggle offensively. But with Clemson being one of the better teams in the country when it comes to defending the perimeter, the Tigers are going to need to attack the basket against Clemson and trust their size in the middle. "We couldn't get that big stop and score that we needed", Lofton said. "I hope that we can get our feet underneath us and at least make it to the Sweet 16". "We have a special group of guys, not only for this year but for next year and the year after that". We have eight scholarship players.

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