WHAT: Clemson vs. Temple
WHERE: TD Arena - Charleston, S.C.
WHEN: Thursday, November 21 (8 p.m.)
TV: ESPN3 (Rich Hollenberg, Len Elmore)
Led by eighth-year head coach Fran Dunphy, Temple [1-2] will face Clemson for the first-time since 2008, when the two teams got together in this tournament's inaugural championship game. Tigers knocked off the Owls that night, 76-72.
Brad Brownell believes the 2013-14 Temple team is a better team than their record might indicate.
"They lost to two very good mid-major-plus teams in Kent State and Towson. They're both going to do very well in their respective leagues. I watched them on film," he said. "They're not as deep as they probably would like to be. They're probably eight-deep, but I like their starters."
Junior point guard Will Cummings leads the Owls in scoring with 17.7 points per game. Three other starters are scoring n double-digits this season -- sophomore guard Quenton DeCosey [13.3], senior forward Dalton Pepper [13.7] and senior center Anthony Lee [16.6].
"Will Cummings at point guard is really fast, can score, split ball screens -- he's a problem. Then, inside, their big kid Anthony Lee is very good, a tremendous left-handed post player who can score with his back to the basket. He'll be the first true post man that probably makes low-post moves consistently on [us].
"South Carolina hurt us with boards and plays around the basket, but it wasn't throw-it-to-the-block then having guys make moves. [Lee] can do that.
"Then, they've got some shooters. Pepper and DeCosey on the wing can make some shots."
The winner will play the winner of Georgia and Davidson on Friday. On the opposite side of the bracket are Nebraska, UMass, UAB and New Mexico. All teams are guaranteed three games.
For now, Clemson is focused on game one, which is scheduled to be on ESPNU.
With last year's leading scorer, Khalif Wyatt, now playing pro ball in China, Brownell thinks the Owls have been in the process of finding themselves through the first couple of weeks of the season.
"They're still figuring out the best way to play completely," Brownell said. "It probably helped them that they have close to a week between their last game and our game."
Coming off Sunday's 71-57 win over South Carolina, Clemson enters the Charleston Classic with a 3-0 record. K.J. McDaniels leads the Tigers in scoring [17.3], rebounding [7.3] and blocked shots [4.3]
"[We're] pretty confident, 3-0 is obviously a great start for the team we have, a very young team," said Jaron Blossomgame, who's averaging 5.3 points and 4.3 rebounds for the Tigers.
"I feel like we can win this tournament or do pretty good. That's the overall goal for the team. We're playing pretty well right now, so I guess we want to take it to the tournament with us."
The opener won't be a walk in the park.
"Fran Dunphy is a terrific coach," Brownell said. "He'll get these guys going in the right direction. They play very smart, great spacing on offense. It will be a good one."
G #2 Will Cummings - 17.7 PPG, 3.7 RPG (6-2, 175)
G #25 Quenton DeCosey - 13.3 PPG, 4.3 RPG (6-5, 180)
F #32 Dalton Pepper - 13.7 PPG, 5.3 RPG (6-5, 220)
F #10 Mark Williams - 7.3 PPG, 5.7 RPG (6-8, 240)
C #3 Anthony Lee - 16.0 PPG, 10.7 RPG (6-9, 230)
G #12 Rod Hall - 10.3 PPG, 3.7 APG (6-1, 210)
G #21 Damarcus Harrison - 8.3 PPG, 3.3 RPG (6-4, 200)
F #32 K.J. McDaniels - 17.3 PPG, 7.3 RPG (6-6, 200)
F #5 Jaron Blossomgame - 5.3 PPG, 4.3 RPG (6-7, 215)
C #35 Landry Nnoko - 1.0 PPG, 2.7 RPG (6-8, 250)
Tigers head to Chucktown
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