In a relatively open ACC, two teams that have the opportunity to rise are the Syracuse Orange and the Clemson Tigers who play on Tuesday.
As of late, Syracuse is emerging as a late threat to establish themselves in the second tier of ACC basketball. Behind Duke, Florida State and Louisville, there is a big drop off to the rest of the pack.
Syracuse can standalone in that next category. Clemson hopes to get there.
Led by Elijah Hughes (19.2 ppg) and the coaches' son Buddy Boeheim (16.2 ppg), the Orange are 13-7 (6-3) this season. Clemson, who's had plenty of their ups and downs throughout the year, is 10-9 (4-5) with Aamir Simms' 3-point shooting leading the way.
These are the two teams' only head-to-head matchup on the year. The winner will hold the direct tiebreaker should they both be there at the end of the season.
Syracuse vs. Clemson: How to Watch
Who: Syracuse Orange (13-7, 6-3 ACC) vs. Clemson (10-9, 4-5 ACC) What: ACC basketball on NBC Sports Washington When: Tuesday, January 28, 7 p.m. ET. Where: Littlejohn Coliseum, Clemson, SC TV Channel: You can watch Syracuse vs. Clemson on NBC Sports Washington Plus (Channel Finder).
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Sunday's game against Indiana was the best of Jalen Smith's collegiate career.
The 6-10 forward had just set another career-high. Pouring on 29 points and sinking the game-winning layup to vault the Maryland Terrapins over Indiana, he was on top of the world. What he did next is what many will remember the most from Smith's performance that afternoon.
'Stix,' as many in the Terrapins community call him, was clearly overcome with emotion. Once the postgame interviews were completed, he walked toward a large contingent of Hoosier fans and began chirping back at a raucous crowd.
He is seen mouthing the words "this is my court," before bending down and tapping Indiana's logo.
Maryland head coach Mark Turgeon saw Smith's taunting and quickly stepped in to diffuse the situation. Immediately he shut down Smith and expressed his displeasure to the sophomore.
Smith was then escorted off the court by two Maryland assistants.
Normally Smith is the calm, cool and easy-going player on a roster full of characters. Postgame he is extremely forthcoming with the media and stays to answer every question asked of him. When he's around there is an infectious smile that he proudly boasts.
This, however, was something not seen by Smith before. Less than an hour following his antics, Smith apologized on Twitter.
I want to sincerely apologize to all the Indiana’s fans and players for how I acted at the end of the game. I let my emotions get the best of me and it won’t happen again. I have nothing but respect for all Indiana’s fans and players. Please forgive me and I wish you all the best
"I want to sincerely apologize to all the Indiana’s fans and players for how I acted at the end of the game. I let my emotions get the best of me and it won’t happen again. I have nothing but respect for all Indiana’s fans and players. Please forgive me and I wish you all the best," Smith said.
It appeared to be a situation where Smith lost control of his emotions after the Terps clawed back by scoring the final seven points of the game. Turgeon admitted that this was not how Smith normally acts and apologized on behalf of him.
"It's not who he is," Turgeon explained postgame. "I apologize to Archie [Miller], the team, Indiana nation - or whatever you guys call yourself - Hoosier nation. We're sorry for the way we acted."
On Monday morning he further explained Smith's character and how abnormal his actions were during a weekly appearance on The Sports Junkies.
"Jalen Smith is one of the greatest kids I've ever coached. He's the most humble superstar you'll ever be around and he lost his mind for a minute," Turgeon told The Junkies. "That will never happen again, I can promise you that... I hope people don't judge him on that one minute. I hope they judge him on what kind of competitor he was yesterday and what a great kid he is."