Mirror Images

CLEMSON – If there was ever a NCAA Tournament matchup that pitted mirror images, this could be it. It should be fast-paced, high-octane basketball ... and that's just how Clemson coach Oliver Purnell likes it.

And so does Missouri coach Mike Anderson.

"We studied some of their tape, back during the summer, looking at their pressures, compared to our pressures," Purnell said.

"We know what the tempo is going to be. They know what the tempo is going to be. We don't need to be concerned about that."

On Friday, the No. 7 seed Tigers (21-10, 9-7) from the ACC will play the No. 10 seed Tigers (22-10, 10-6) from the Big 12 in Buffalo, N.Y. in the East Regional first round of the NCAA Tournament.

"I think we deserve (the seed). There are some naysayers out there that don't think our league is real good and don't think our team's that good," Purnell said.

All-ACC senior forward Trevor Booker is intrigued by the matchup that pits a pair of full-court, 40-minute high-pressure team.

"It's two great defensive teams, two good coaches, it's going to be a really good game," he said.

As Booker watched the selection show from the fourth floor of the West End Zone with teammates and Clemson season ticket holders, he saw a 10 seed as a "realistic" slot, especially when Florida State was announced as a No. 9 seed.

"When I saw that, I definitely thought we were going to be at least a 10, since they finished third in the ACC," he said. "But, we did beat them twice. That might have had something to do with it too."

That competitive conference schedule, combined with a respectable non-conference schedule, positioned Clemson into a comfortable position heading into Sunday's selection show.

Six teams from the ACC were selected to the field of 65, including South Regional No. 1 seed Duke.

"We played an awfully difficult schedule and in a league that's good. We distinguished ourselves pretty decently. I think that seed reflects that," he said.

Missouri, like Clemson, lost in the first round of its conference tournament. The Tigers from the Show Me State lost to Nebraska 75-60.

"I think that everybody on our team, everybody on our staff really believes that we haven't played our best basketball," Purnell said. "That's the exciting part. Sometimes, it can be a frustrating part. We want to use that frustration that we haven't played our best and fuel our preparation and how hard we play versus Missouri."

CUTigers.com Top Stories