Wednesday NCAA Tourney Notebook

TAMPA - Clemson arrived to Tampa in the wee hours of the morning on Wednesday, just over 24 hours before the Tigers tipoff against fifth-seeded West Virginia.

GET SOME SLEEP: Since the Clemson (21-11, 9-7 ACC) didn't arrive to the hotel until 4:30 a.m., players were permitted to sleep until Noon on Wednesday.

Up first on the docket was a team meal, which was followed by an hour film session and a study hall. Head coach Brad Brownell left a two-hour window of free time in the afternoon, "hopefully for a short nap."

Sleep wasn't a priority for him.

"I got about three hours, [from] five to eight [a.m.]," Brownell said. "It wasn't good sleep."

He's encouraged his players to get plenty of rest.

"The biggest part right now is to get mentally prepared, because we're going to take on a team that's been rested for the last couple of days," said Demontez Stitt, who scored seven points and grabbed four rebounds in Clemson's 70-52 win against UAB in the First Round game. "We just need to get rest so we're ready to play."

HUGGINS HIGH ON THE TIGERS: West Virginia (20-11, 11-7 Big East) head coach Bob Huggins told reporters at Wednesday's press conference that he's extremely impressed with Clemson.

"They've got good perimeter shooters, good ball handlers and four or five bigs that all play very well," he said. "They all have played well at different times. Watching the game last night, they just came out and decided they were going to throw it inside to the low post and score, and did. I think they're working really hard.

"I think they're extremely physical and a really good team. I think they're playing really, really well."

Huggins, who's no stranger to quick turnarounds in tournament play, doesn't believe the Tigers will have any problems with fatigue on Thursday afternoon.

"Kids today, they play at 2 o'clock, go get a hamburger, French fries and a chocolate shake, and they come back and play at 6. It's kind of a different breed of athletes," he said. "I think they'll be fine. Sometimes it helps."

RETURNING TO TAMPA: No. 5 seed Clemson matched up with No. 12 seed Villanova in the First Round of the 2008 NCAA Tournament. The Tigers suffered a disappointing 75-69 First Round loss in the Midwest Regional.

Only four players remain from that team—Stitt, Jerai Grant, Zavier Anderson and Jonah Baize.

With their win over UAB on Tuesday night, Clemson won the right to play as the 12 seed in this year's East Regional. Now, those four seniors have a chance at redemption in Tampa.

"We're seniors now. I think we have a lot more experience, as players," Stitt said. "Our team has a lot more. Guys have been in these situations."

Grant, who scored a career-high 22 points against the Blazers, believes the Tigers are in Tampa for an extended stay.

"We know we've got a great chance to do some special things in this tournament," he said. "Coach never said our goal was to win one [NCAA Tournament] game. He told us we had to keep it up and keep working harder."


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