Notebook: NIT BOUND

GREENSBORO, N.C. – There were a lot of hopes and dreams of Clemson putting together a deep run through the ACC Tournament and possibly make the NCAA Tournament.

Now with Miami's 66-63 victory over the Tigers in the first round Thursday at the Greensboro Coliseum, Clemson now sets it sights on the NIT.

"It's disappointing we didn't make a run at winning the tournament," Tigers head coach Oliver Purnell said. "I felt like if we could advance, anything could happen. That is disappointing. We have to find a way like we have all year long to go back, regroup, point toward the goal, which would be to win a first-round game in the NIT and start preparing for that like we have all year long."

The Clemson players were dejected in the locker room and tried their best to act as though doing well in the NIT is still important to them.

"We will get ready for the NIT and hopefully get that win in the first round," said Clemson point guard Vernon Hamilton. "It's a disappointing loss today because we feel that we are an NCAA Tournament team."

Purnell said his biggest challenge is to get his team excited to play in the NIT after so much emphasis was placed on trying to make the NCAA Tournament.

"I expect we'll do it," Purnell said. "My expectations are that our guys will be ready to go like they have all year long."

Purnell said he wasn't sure if Clemson would receive a home game in the NIT or not. However, he believes the Tigers deserve at least one.

"I feel like we're one of the better teams not to receive an NCAA bid," he said.

ACC Tourney Woes
For whatever reason, Clemson has never been able to do well in the ACC Tournament. And of course, a lot of times it was because the Tigers weren't very good. But even when they have been, they still struggled.

And Thursday's result was just another example.

Since 1981, Clemson is 7-26 in the tournament and have never won more than one game.

Amazingly, in those 26 seasons, the Tigers were above .500 16 times. And in those years, Clemson is 6-16 in the tournament.

Since 1954, Clemson is 14-53 in tournament play. To put things in perspective, Georgia Tech, which joined the league for the 1979-80 season, is 19-23 with three championships.

The only time the Tigers have won two games in the tournament came in 1962, when they made their only finals appearance. Ultimately, they lost to guard Billy Packer and Wake Forest.

Honoring Bob Bradley
The Atlantic Coast Sports Media Association established the Bob Bradley Spirit & Courage Award, in honor of the late and long time Clemson sports information director that died in October of 2000 after a three-year battle with bone cancer that included more than 100 radiation treatments.

The award will be presented annually, in conjunction with the ACC Office, to male or female basketball player, coach or team administrator who has overcome serious injury, illness or significant adversity in life to become a valuable contributor to his or her program and university.

This year's inaugural recipient is guard Tony Bethel of N.C. State.

After transferring to N.C. State and sitting out the 2003-04 season, he started 12 games before contracting a virus that caused him to lose 15 pounds and led to a serious bout with colitis. Although plagued by frequent swelling and soreness in his joints, he returned to the starting lineup prior to the 2005 ACC Tournament, only to suffer a ruptured tendon in his groin that ended his junior year.

Bethel remained sidelined until November of 2005. He returned to action, although less than full speed, and has still required daily visits to the N.C. State sports medicine center for treatment and consultation throughout the current season.

Free Throws
There was a massive ticket problem involving Miami and the fans of North Carolina. Having sold only half of its allotted 1,300 tickets, Miami put the tickets up for sale on its website. A Tar Heels fan got the information and posted it on a message board, which resulted in thousands of fans trying to get tickets and ultimately crashed the Miami site.

Due to the crashed site, orders were taken over the phone and they wound up selling nearly double of the amount of tickets they actually had. Thus, Miami had to call several fans to inform them they had no tickets. Those they couldn't get in contact with discovered there were no tickets when they got to will call Thursday. …

Without question, one of the highlights of the Clemson game was the Miami dance team, better known as the Sunsations. After a halftime performance, they Jennifer Lopez lookalikes received a loud ovation.

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