A Bizarre Start

CLEMSON – To say the first half of ACC play has been bizarre might be one of the biggest understatements of the brand new year. <BR>

Teams that were thought to be bad are in the upper half of the standings, while teams that were believed to be good are at the bottom.

And Clemson and Miami, which meet Wednesday night in Coral Gables, Fla., are two of the main reasons why the standings are whacked out.

The Hurricanes, who were predicted to finish 10th out of 11 ACC teams, sit right in the middle of things with a 12-5 overall record and a 3-3 conference record, thanks to wins over N.C. State, Virginia and Florida State.

Miami has been able to sneak up on nearly all if its opponents.

"I am surprised," Clemson guard Cliff Hammonds said of the success of the Hurricanes. "I didn't know anything about Miami before this year. I didn't know who good their guard play is."

Miami starts three guards and if one or two of them are having an off night, rest assured that the third will carry the slack.

Guillermo Diaz, who has a vertical leap higher than 40 inches, averages 18.8 points per game, while Robert Hite is scoring 17.5 a game and Anthony Harris 12.3 per game.

The Tigers, meanwhile, come into the game having sustained an upset loss at Virginia Tech and a heartbreaker at Virginia. As a result, Clemson is 10-8 overall and 1-5 in the ACC.

It seems as though the two teams have their records reversed.

"I didn't really follow them that much, but I didn't think they were any good," Clemson forward Cheyenne Moore said. "I'm shocked. They're doing better than us and we've been here (in the ACC).

"I thought we'd have three wins under our belt easy. I guess that's where the problem started. We thought it was going to be easy."

The other problem for Moore, a freshman, is that he and Hammonds are mostly going to guard Diaz.

"I love guarding all the top-named guys," Moore said. "I love it. That's what I came here for."

Just be careful what you wish for, it may come true.

"(Moore's) going to get all he wants," Tigers coach Oliver Purnell said. "Teams that beat them have done a good job on their guards."

However, what doesn't bode well for Clemson is the fact that the Hurricanes have lost two straight. The three previous losses by the Tigers all came to teams that had just lost the game before.

"We're tired of every team coming off a loss and saying they get a win on us," Hammonds said. "We have to prove we're not the remedy and get a win."

CUTigers.com Top Stories