Purnell: The more I have see of Hofstra the more nervous I get about the opener. They return nine of their 10 top scorers and they have an outstanding trio of guards.
This team has the ability to be at the top in the Colonial this year because they return so many players, so many experience players, they are strong in the backcourt and yet at the same time they have big strong post people. They block shots in the interior and they have tough kids and they are really well coached.
We didn't get a great draw here if you are looking for a cupcake as a draw. This is not a cupcake. This is going to be a real challenge for us because they I'm sure feel that they have the guards to handle our pressure defense.
How will you defend their guard play?
Purnell: We are probably going to have to figure in the game which (defense) is the most effective. Even though everybody in this room knows how we want to play, though we might not be able to do that from day one, but we are going to start out that way and hopefully we will be able to go for 35 or 40 minutes playing the way that we want to. If we get in a situation where we have to pull back a little bit because of their outstanding guards, then we might have to play half court defense. May even see some zone out there. It is kind of like seeing snow this time of year.
Has your team come in hungry after last year's success?
Purnell: This is a high character group. They listen, but they are young men and they are acceptable to listen to some of the hype. We have had to get on them a few times about that. Just the other day after the USC-Aiken game where we played pretty well I thought and improved over the last week against Georgia where I thought we were just kind of mediocre. We came in the next and it was like we thought we arrived, but I talked to them about it. The next day they came out to practice and the next day was even a better day and hopefully today will be a better day. They are starting to smell that it is game time like a mature team sure and have an understanding that now it is for real and that we have got challenges here.
What do you think about this field you are going against this weekend?
Purnell: We like playing in Charleston. We have played in Greenville occasionally, and around the state. We like seeing fans dressed in orange in other arenas besides our own. We believe that is Clemson territory down there. That is one of our highest attended Clemson club meetings and all of that stuff. I know those people are excited about having us down there. We get a chance to showcase our team and college basketball.
This is a solid field. You don't have a lot of teams with national claim, but anybody who knows basketball, and you go right down that line, and you look at we get Hofstra in the first round and everybody knows that (Bobby) Cremins will be much improved and at home in that knew arena with the emotions that will bring.
Temple out of the Atlantic 10, a league I know a lot about, was an NCAA team last year and they return most of their guys. They are outstanding. There are some other teams that don't have those names, but are outstanding like a TCU or a Western Michigan that people know are good basketball teams, particularly this time of year see those kinds of teams knock off those teams with the so-called big names all the time. You are going to see it, but we are hoping we can go in just one game at a time and get a win.
Do you like opening the season like this?
Purnell: Yeah, if you win. We opened up in a tournament like this a couple of year ago where we played at Old Dominion and we played Arkansas State in the first game and Monmouth in the second game and beat Old Dominion in a close game in the finals.