Purnell Previews Tonight's Matchup

CHAMPAIGN, IL - Clemson head coach Oliver Purnell discusses tonight's matchup with Illinois with CUTigers.com.


Your club is off to a great start at 7-0, but Illinois is undefeated as well.
Purnell: Illinois plays some good basketball. They've got some really nice nice wins. I watched the Kent State game- Kent State was an NCAA team from last year and very good team again this year. They go to Vanderbilt and win. Tulsa- what a good ballclub they are with a lottery pick type center. They've got three good wins and played good basketball thus far, no question about it. They are on their home court, Big Ten/ACC Challenge, national TV, I think you'll see motivated Illinois team.

Their 6-9 kid is averaging over 13 points and 10 boards a game. He looks pretty good.
Purnell: Mike Davis- much improved from last year. He's got some big game. Then Tisdale- the 7-2 guy was Big Ten player of the week. So their big kids have played well. Then the guy everybody talks about is McCamey- he's an NBA prospect that that can break you down off the dribble. Then they have a terrific shooter by the name of Meacham.

This is a team that seems to be shutting other teams down- just 37 percent from the floor and only 27 percent from behind the arc?
Purnell: They do a good job defensively. No question about it. And they will run shot clock in the half court. Any time you hold on to the ball it helps your defense. In the end, you don't get a lot of shots against them and you don't score a lot of points.

You are coming off a win over P.C., was that a learning situation for your kids because you need to see better effort?
Purnell: This is a better team. Let's face it. It's a different level. Coming here we have to ratchet it up. No question about it. I do like the fact that we've established ourselves as a team that can take the ball inside the last couple of games. That could be a huge advantage for us. We want to make Illinois react to our inside game.

You played in a hostile environment already this season at Charlotte. How does that help you here tonight in Champaign?
Purnell: I think huge. Experience is one of those things you can't get unless you go do it. We had a terrific experience against Charlotte, sellout crowd, hostile environment. loud of a place as I've ever heard. We have to find a way to win and it may be that way tonight.

CUTigers.com Top Stories