TRACK THE TIGERS IN THE BIG APPLE

What: National Invitation Tournament semifinal

When: April 1, 7 or 9 p.m.

Where: Madison Square Garden, New York City

Who: Clemson (23-12) vs. SMU (25-9)/California (21-13)

TV: ESPN2

Follow beat writer Aaron Brenner for updates from New York on Twitter @Aaron_Brenner

CLEMSON - During ACC Operation Basketball at the Ritz-Carlton in downtown Charlotte, media voters picked Clemson to finish 14th in the 15-team standings, trailed only by Virginia Tech.

It was hard to completely ignore this quote from head coach Brad Brownell on Oct. 16:

"Our guys don't get upset too much. I feel like I'm the guy who kind of has to do that for them, and make them understand, hey, we can't keep making these kind of mistakes. We have to correct these mistakes quicker. It's a little frustrating. It's a little challenging."

Media day is a day for stumping your team. Not stomping it.

So that's why the expectations were low for this Clemson men's basketball team. That's why the NIT's a bigger deal to the Tigers than, say, Kentucky or Indiana. That's why students rushed the floor last night after beating mighty Belmont . that's written in jest, but it wasn't the opponent, it was the moment.

That's why. But how?

Check out our Tiger Tracks blog for five hallmarks of this hard-to-forget renaissance season produced by Clemson on the hardwood, which finishes up next week in the NIT semifinals (and perhaps the championship) at Madison Square Garden in New York City.