Tigers Hit the Road

CLEMSON – When Clemson basketball coach Oliver Purnell put together his team's non-conference schedule, there was a method to his madness.

Instead of playing against top competition, he instead opted to slowly bring his young team along against much inferior teams.

After the first three games, it's pretty obvious just how inferior these teams are. The Tigers have won their games by an average of 30.67 points. It's also the first time in school history the team has won each of its first three games by more than 29 points.

With the first phase of the Purnell's plan over, which was to test the new lineups, and get the newcomers significant playing time and confidence, it's now for time for part two, which is play the team's first road game.

"Now we get a chance to go on the road in a different environment and I think that's a right next step for our team," Purnell said. "It's the kind of test we need right now. As we thought about this ballgame, we thought it would be a good rehearsal for going on the road in the league and it looks like its going to be."

And while it would be deemed a major upset if Charleston Southern were to beat the Tigers Saturday night at North Charleston Coliseum, don't be surprised if the Buccaneers put together a stronger effort than any of the previous three did.

Yes, Charleston Southern is usually one of the bottom feeders in the Big South, but that was before the new coach arrived this past off-season. Barclay Radebaugh was an assistant with the Miami Hurricanes last season and he has employed that same type of style with the Buccaneers.

So far it has worked to perfection as they have started out 2-0, which includes a win over cross-town bully College of Charleston, which is routinely in the NCAA Tournament.

"They've got a new coach and they're playing a little bit more of an up-tempo style," Purnell said. "He was an assistant at Miami last year, so we're familiar with that system. It sounds like he's doing a great job. They're excited.

"As I told the guys in the locker room, it is Super Bowl II, this is their Super Bowl. They're at home and they've got Clemson coming in there, so we've got to hang onto our hats and go in there prepared and be ready."

Being ready, especially for the freshmen, is something senior center Steve Allen isn't the least bit concerned about. He believes the freshmen will handle this test without much problem, which will prepare the team for its next test, which is a road game Tuesday at Penn State.

"We have a great group of guys that's always energetic," he said. "We feed off challenges. We're ready to get it started and get those guys adapted to the road games and how it is.

"I know those guys are going to be ready because we have a great group of freshmen. We also have a great group of older guys with leadership and a great coaching staff that's going to get them ready. I know they're going to be prepared and I know we're going to be prepared."

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