When Was the Last Time Clemson Won the NCAA Tournament? (Odds to Win March Madness)

Taking a look at Clemson’s NCAA Tournament history and the Tigers’ odds to win it all this season. 

Mar 24, 2024; Memphis, TN, USA; Clemson Tigers center PJ Hall (24) reacts in the second half against Baylor in the NCAA Tournament.
Mar 24, 2024; Memphis, TN, USA; Clemson Tigers center PJ Hall (24) reacts in the second half against Baylor in the NCAA Tournament. / Petre Thomas-USA TODAY Sports

In an NCAA Tournament with fewer upsets than usual, Clemson might be one of the biggest surprises. The No. 6 Tigers are the second-lowest seed remaining in March Madness (behind its ACC counterpart No. 11 NC State) and have reached the Sweet 16 with a pair of outright wins as an underdog.

Clemson did enough during the regular season (21-10) to garner an NCAA Tournament bid despite a one-and-done trip in the ACC Tournament in its 21-point loss to Boston College. Pundits debated whether Clemson should've been as high in the bracket, and the Tigers were two-point underdogs to trendy double-digit seed New Mexico in the first round. Behind star center P.J. Hall and guard Chase Hunter, Clemson rolled over New Mexico (77-56) before taking out No. 3 Baylor in the second round, 72-64. 

An underdog story thus far, Clemson is a longshot for a deep March Madness run. Have the Tigers ever pulled it off before? Here’s a deep dive into Clemson’s NCAA Tournament backstory. 

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When Was the Last Time Clemson Won the NCAA Tournament? 

While its football team rose to national prominence over the last decade, Clemson’s basketball program has never tasted the same success. The Tigers have never won the national championship or advanced to the Final Four in program history while playing in a loaded ACC littered with college basketball bluebloods and legendary head coaches. 

Clemson’s best run came in 1980, when the Tigers, coached by Bill C. Foster, were a No. 6 seed and advanced to the Elite Eight for the only time in school history with wins over No. 11 Utah State, No. 3 BYU, and No. 10 Lamar. The Tigers’ run came to an end in the regional final against Larry Brown’s UCLA Bruins, who would go on to lose the national championship game to Louisville. 

After that run, Clemson missed the NCAA Tournament for the next six seasons. This year’s Sweet 16 berth is only the program’s second trip to the tournament’s second weekend this century (2018). 

Clemson a Longshot For Further March Madness Noise

Playing in the Midwest Region that still includes the top-two seeds, Clemson is a distant longshot to make school history by cracking the Final Four for the first time. According to FanDuel Sportsbook, Clemson is +950 ($100 bet wins $950) to win the region, which is an implied probability of 9.52%. 

Clemson has the second-longest odds to run the table and win the national title at FanDuel at +8500 ($100 bet wins $8,500). 

In a Sweet 16 filled with projected tight games, Clemson is the second-biggest underdog (San Diego State) in the round. The Tigers are 7.5-point favorites against Arizona on Thursday night. 

Game odds update periodically and are subject to change.