KEYS TO VICTORY: Missouri will certainly get out and run with Clemson, so the game promises to be one the more entertaining matchups of the entire first round. Mizzou gets double-digit production out of G Kim English (13.9), G Marcus Denmon (10.8) and F Lawrence Bowers (10.2). Each team likes to press, so ball-handling will be at a premium. A good sign for Clemson is that junior point guard Demontez Stitt, who runs the offense, has only three turnovers in his last two games, about half his usual number.
His performance today against Missouri's full-court pressure will obviously be critical.
Senior forward Trevor Booker looks to give Clemson the advantage inside at both ends of the court. He has scored in double figures in seven of the last eight games and can be relentless on the boards (61 rebounds in his last seven games).
Meanwhile a fragile Mizzou front line was weakened during the stretch run by a season-ending knee injury to forward Justin Safford. That forces the Tigers to give extended minutes to Keith Ramsey and Laurence Bowers in what is still a small lineup. Nebraska, a team that ranked 11th in the Big 12 in rebounding, enjoyed a 38-22 advantage on the glass in its Big 12 tournament upset of the Tigers.
Without question, from the Clemson perspective, rebounding, and being able to allow its offense to flow through Booker, will be key in this game.
Last but not least, the play of Andre Young off the bench will crucial to Clemson's chances of getting the win. Not only with his shooting, but also with his ball-handling working against Missouri's pressure.
SCOUTING REPORT: Clemson forced 545 turnovers in 2009-10, the sixth consecutive season Tiger foes have made more than 500. The Tigers also shot the ball reasonably well -- 45.3 percent from the field -- and had five players with at least 25 3-pointers, headed by Andre Young's 55-of-152 performance off the bench. F Trevor Booker (15.3 points, 8.3 rebounds) is the man who makes them go inside. PG Demontez Stitt is playing with confidence and aggressiveness down the stretch while averaging 11.1 points and 3.2 assists a game.
ROSTER REPORT: Booker, who was held to six points in the regular-season finale at Wake Forest, bounced back with 17 on 7-of-11 shooting against N.C. State. He was 1-of-2 on 3-pointers for the second time in the last three games. He didn't try a trey against the Deacons.
--Jerai Grant has four blocked shots and four steals in his past three games.
--Demontez Stitt has had only one assist in each of his past two games after registering a season-high seven against Georgia Tech in Clemson's last home game.
--Missouri forward Laurence Bowers was the only Tiger to score in double figures against Nebraska, netting 11 points on 5-for-8 shooting. He also snagged a team-high six rebounds as the Tigers grabbed just 22 boards, their lowest total of the season.
--F Justin Safford was lost for the season with a knee injury, which kept him out of the past four games. He averaged 8.6 points and 4.1 rebounds. Bowers replaced Safford in the Missouri lineup.
--G Kim English leads Missouri with a 14-point average but was held to seven points on 2-for-11 shooting against Nebraska. G Zaire Taylor, another starter, went 2-for-14.
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