Clemson-Missouri Preview: Oliver Purnell Goes for First Tournament Win

The ACC and SEC BlogSenior Analyst IMarch 19, 2010

CLEMSON, SC - JANUARY 13:  Head coach Oliver Purnell of the Clemson Tigers against the North Carolina Tar Heels at Littlejohn Coliseum on January 13, 2010 in Clemson, South Carolina.  (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

Two Tigers will tangle in Buffalo on Friday in the second of three games pitting the Big 12 against the ACC. Wake Forest gave the ACC a 1-0 advantage with an OT win over Texas Thursday.

These two teams have very similar styles of pressing full court for 40 minutes. Missouri coach Mike Anderson is a Nolan Richardson and 40 minutes of hell disciple.

Meanwhile, Oliver Purnell of Clemson is hoping for his first NCAA Tournament victory ever.

But maybe the best part of the matchup will be that the sometimes excitable Gus Johnson is calling the game!

Despite many claiming the Big 12’s superiority, Clemson actually played a tougher schedule (No. 25 vs No. 50). Clemson was 6-6 vs RPI Top 50 while Missouri was 4-7. Clemson has a neutral court win over Butler as well as Maryland, Georgia Tech, and a sweep of Florida State. Oliver Purnell’s club did lose to Texas A&M early in the year.

Missouri beat Kansas State, Oklahoma State, and Texas, but did fall to Oral Roberts early in the year and was beaten handily by last place finisher Nebraska in the opening round of the Big 12 Tournament.

Clemson fell by two to NC State, who then beat FSU to reach the ACC Semifinals, so neither team is coming in hot.

But Missouri’s loss is more concerning since you figure they had to feel they were more on the bubble whereas Clemson had to feel pretty safe. Also, Missouri was down at the half and saw the deficit widen to start the second half, indicating a lack of urgency against the downtrodden Cornhuskers.

Despite playing a tougher schedule and having a higher RPI, in a close game the downfall of Clemson could be their FT shooting, which at 66 percent ranks near the bottom of the Tournament field.

Call me an ACC homer, but I like the Tigers of Clemson in this one. I don’t think Missouri finished the season very well despite not having locked up a bid. They did not show a sense of urgency last week against an over matched Nebraska team. Can Mike Anderson’s club just turn it on now?

Pick: Clemson over Missouri