Clemson's Tanner Smith rubs his head after a hard landing on the floor in the second half of an NCAA college basketball game against Florida State on Sunday, March 4, 2012, in Tallahassee, Fla. Florida State won 80-72. (AP Photo/Phil Sears)
ATLANTA -- Tanner Smith's good fortune at Philips Arena predated Clemson's regular-season victory over Georgia Tech late last month.
"I used to go to Atlanta Thrashers games and one time I won a jersey," the Wesleyan graduate said after Clemson beat the Yellow Jackets 56-37.
Smith admitted that he had switched tickets early, making a companion less than happy. But the free jersey appeared to be a good omen with the ACC Tournament at Philips Arena this year.
Now Smith may not get to end his ACC career with the kind of homecoming he was hoping to have.
The versatile Clemson leader took a fall midway through the second half of the Tigers' regular-season finale at Florida State on Sunday and his status for the ACC Tournament remains to be determined.
"I still don't know," coach Brad Brownell said Monday. "I think he's going to be OK. We're optimistic he'll be able to practice ... and be ready to go Thursday."
No. 7 seed Clemson (16-14, 8-8) plays No. 10 seed Virginia Tech (15-16, 4-12) at 7 p.m. in the opening round and the Tigers can't afford to be without Smith. Anything less than a trip to Sunday's title game would certainly doom hopes of a fifth straight trip to the NCAA Tournament for Clemson.
The 6-foot-5 guard is second on the team in scoring at 11.1, ranks first with 4.1 assists and is third in rebounding at 5.0. He also is second in the ACC in steals, one behind senior roommate Andre Young, an All-ACC defensive choice.
Smith, a four-time All-ACC academic selection who has already graduated, is also just 26 points short of 1,000 in his career and could become just the fourth Clemson player to have at least 1,000 points, 400 rebounds and 300 assists.
But reaching that milestone was jeopardized when Smith hit the floor hard during Clemson's 80-72 loss at FSU and suffered a potential concussion. Further evaluation was scheduled.
Clemson, which won five of its last seven ACC games, split a pair of two-point games with Virginia Tech during the regular season. The Tigers won last Thursday night on senior night in Clemson as Smith had 14 points, six rebounds and four assists.
The Clemson-Virginia Tech winner will play No. 2 seed Duke (26-5, 13-3) at 7 p.m. on Friday in the quarterfinals. The Blue Devils are ranked No. 6 nationally after losing at home to North Carolina on Saturday.
Top-seeded North Carolina (27-4, 14-2) will play the winner of Thursday's opening game at noon between No. 8 seed Maryland (16-14, 6-10) and No. 9 Wake Forest (13-17, 4-12) at noon on Friday. The Tar Heels are ranked No. 4 nationally.
No. 11 seed Georgia Tech (11-19, 4-12) will play No. 6 Miami (18-11, 9-7) in the final game Thursday at approximately 9 p.m. The winner plays No. 3 seed FSU (21-9, 12-4) in the late quarterfinal game on Friday. The Seminoles are ranked No. 17 nationally. No. 4 seed Virginia (22-8, 9-7) will play the winner of Thursday's 2 p.m. game between No. 5 N.C. State (20-11, 9-7) and No. 12 Boston College (9-21, 4-12) at 7 p.m. on Friday. Virginia features freshman Malcolm Brogdon, a Greater Atlanta Christian grad who averaged 6.7 points as the Cavaliers' sixth man.
The ACC Tournament was last played in Atlanta in 2009, with Duke defeating FSU 79-69 at the Georgia Dome. The event was also played at the Dome in 2001 at the Omni in 1983, 1985 and 1989.
Philips Arena, on the former site of the Omni, was selected as the site of this year's tournament because the ACC felt that the Georgia Dome was too large.
The last time that a team other than Duke or North Carolina won the ACC Tournament was in 2004, when Maryland upset the top-seeded Blue Devils 95-87. The last championship game without either Duke or North Carolina goes way back to 1996, when Tim Duncan-led Wake Forest edged Stephon Marbury and Georgia Tech 75-74.