Tigers Going Dancing

The Clemson Tigers will play Villanova in the first round of the NCAA Tournament in Tampa, Fla Friday.

Hearing his team's name as the brackets were announced Sunday afternoon was music to the ears of senior guard Cliff Hammonds.

"Just hearing your named called on Selection Sunday is a dream come true," he said. "We have the type of team that can make a run so we're excited."

This will be Clemson's first NCAA Tournament appearance for Hammonds and three other seniors on the team (Sam Perry, James Mays and Matt Morris). It is also Clemson's first trip to the Big Dance since 1998.

The Tigers, a No. 5 seed from the ACC, will play the Wildcats, the No. 12 seed out of the Big East, on Friday in the Midwest Region of this year's NCAA Tournament.

"Seeding was important," said head coach Oliver Purnell. "We felt like we got a pretty decent seed. We would have liked to have four or three but five is pretty good."

Villanova ended its season at 20-12 (9-9 in the Big East) after a losing by 19 to Georgetown in the second round of the Big East Tournament.

The Wildcats are led in scoring by All-Big East second teamer Scottie Reynolds, who averages 15.6 points per game.

Villanova has notched wins over NCAA teams Pittsburgh, Temple, West Virginia and Connecticut this season.

"I've seen them in passing," said Purnell. "It will be easy to gather tape on them. I'm sure my assistants have watched them play a bunch. I know they have outstanding guards. They've got some athletes on the front line and they are going to pose some interesting challenges."

The Tigers advanced to the championship game of the ACC Tournament before losing to No. 1 North Carolina Sunday afternoon in Charlotte.

Should Clemson beat Villanova, it will play the winner of the Vanderbilt/Siena matchup next Sunday.


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