A desire to advance

CLEMSON — Terrence Oglesby was so jacked up when he got to the St. Pete Times Forum last March he could not calm himself down.

After all, this was one of the moments the 6-foot-2, 190-pound guard had dreamed about all is life. He was getting the opportunity to live that one shining moment that all basketball players long for – the opportunity to play in the NCAA Basketball Tournament.

But Oglesby never really got his time in the spotlight and neither did No. 24 Clemson as Villanova pounced the Tigers from the field of 64 with a 75-69 win in Tampa, Fla. BR>
He finished the night 1-of-11 from the field and 1-for-8 from three-point range. BR>
"I came into that game so hyper and excited, that it actually took away from my game and obviously it did," he said.

But it was an experience Oglesby and the Tigers (23-8) can draw from as seventh-seeded Clemson gets set to play 10th seeded Michigan in the NCAA South Region this Thursday at Kansas City's Sprint Center.

"I think just being a season ahead and knowing what is ahead is what I think will benefit us a lot," Oglesby said.

Michigan players don't see it that way.

Like Clemson last year, the Wolverines (20-14) are making their first NCAA Tournament appearance in 11 years. Some think, though it was very little, last year's loss to Villanova gives the Tigers an edge in the first-round game.

"Obviously, we put a lot into getting to the NCAA Tournament, that was our goal at the beginning of the season, but now that we're here we want to do some damage," Michigan guard C.J. Lee said.

That's what Clemson coach Oliver Purnell was expecting the Wolverines to say. Like Michigan, the Tigers' head coach isn't buying into the notion that the Wolverines are just happy to be in the dance.

"I think we weren't there that long to have an NCAA experience, but it is more motivational that ‘Boy I want that winning feeling' as opposed to that bitter losing feeling when you lose in the first round," he said. "I don't think that will play into it. Both teams will be motivated. I'm not sure our motivation will be significantly higher because we lost last year.

"I think both teams will be highly motivated and both will want to stay in the national tournament."


"Obviously, we put a lot into getting to the NCAA Tournament, that was our goal at the beginning of the season, but now that we're here we want to do some damage," Michigan guard C.J. Lee said. (Getty Images)

In fact, some might say despite the Wolverines lack of experience in the field of 64 they might have the edge on Clemson based on coaching. Michigan head coach John Beilein has nearly 600 wins in his career and has taken two teams to the Sweet 16 and four different schools to the NCAA Tournament.

Though Purnell has taken Clemson to new heights in every season he has been there, the one thing that has eluded him no matter where he has coached is a win in the NCAA Tournament.

"It gives us a lot of confidence going in and it is what allows us to buy into his system," Michigan guard David Merritt said. "He's done it everywhere else so why can't he do it here. Guys really bought into his system this year and he has a lot to do with where we are right now."

And though he knows his team was so close to knocking that door down and getting him that first NCAA Tournament win last year, he asked his players to forget about that and try not to put so much stock in what little NCAA experience they have over the Wolverines.

"I'm hoping it is a desire to advance," he said. "We were there and we were so close in terms that we played Villanova in a close game. We were up big early. It ends up being a close game, but we lost and there were a lot of tears in the locker room afterwards.

"I'm hoping that memory comes back and that they want to change that around."

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