Monday, March 16

Early Michigan preview

Firstly, after the darkness of the ACC tournament, I am reinstating the optimistic white background.

Secondly, Oliver Purnell sent out a brief newsletter today

March Madness!!!

March Madness officially began on Sunday with the NCAA Selection Show. Our entire team and staff joined me at my home to watch the unveiling of the bracket. The excitement grew as the TV flashed the Clemson Tigers on the screen as a #7 seed in the South Region. Our staff immediately went to work preparing for our match-up against 10th-seeded Michigan. Our team will head out to Kansas City on Tuesday. We will be working around the clock to make sure that we are ready for the Wolverines.

Our appearance in the national tournament marks the second consecutive year Clemson has reached the NCAA Tournament. This is a tremendous accomplishment for our program. Expectations have been raised for Clemson Basketball and we will continue to work hard to take the program to new heights... Above and Beyond!!!

Go Tigers!

Coach P
Now, onto the Wolverines.

Michigan runs a 1-3-1 zone. G Manny Harris averages 16.8 ppg, while F DeShawn Sims averages 15.7 ppg, both of whom account for 48.59% of Michigan's total points. Sims and Harris will probably be matched up against Booker and Rivers, respectively. After that combo, there is a precipitous drop-off in point production from the Wolverines. Their next leading scorer is freshman guard Zack Novak at 6.8 ppg. Additionally, no one on their team averages more than 7 rebounds a game.

And while Michigan has faced a press prior to this game, they have not had to handle it for as long and as fast as Oliver Purnell commits to it. UCONN ran it some against Michigan, and the Wolverines came up just short 61-69. The Tigers will present problems here for UM, as frustration can mount. Oliver Purnell talks about the cumulative effect of the press and against a relatively young team without previous tournament experience, this could become a factor and lead to an easy Clemson victory.

On the otherhand, one of the easiest ways to beat the press is to have at least a strong ballhandling and/or scoring guard and a decent big man who can move handle and move the ball himself. Both of which Michigan have in Sims and Harris and as such, could give Clemson trouble.

Per the coaches, they have both coached multiple teams to NCAA tournament, Beilein 4 (Canisius, Richmond, West Virginia, and Michigan) and Purnell 3 (Old Dominion, Dayton and Clemson). And while the Tigers have current tournament experience, Beilein had tournament winning experience, while Purnell does not. So, this could be a general concern for the Tigers, as the Wolverines can put their trust into Beilein in a different way than the Tigers can Purnell- at least as of now.

The three point shot could define the game. Michigan likes to shoot threes, alot. They rank 3rd nationally in 3pt attempts and 10th in 3pt made. However, they rank 207thnationally in 3pt%. Clemson ranks 7oth nationally in 3pt attempts and 37 in 3pt made, but rank 35% in 3pt%. While the Tigers might not take as many threes as the Wolverines, they are more efficient when they do.

Here is a link to a side-by-side comparison of Clemson and Michigan this season with all sorts of charts, graphs and numbers.

Read a preview of the Tigers from a Wolverine perspective on to see what they think of the Clemson-Michigan matchup.

Go Tigers!

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