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March 9, 2005

ACC Tournament 2005: Clemson

by Michael Bushnell, Page Editor
Team record: 5-14, 5-11 conference
Coach: Oliver Purnell


Second year coach Oliver Purnell has the usually dreadful Clemson Tigers headed towards an NIT berth. Consistently the worst team in the ACC over the last five seasons prior, Clemson was still bad this year, Purnell lead an underclassmen-laden squad to ninth place in the league. The Tigers are anchored by Suitland, Md.'s Sherrod Ford, who led the team in points (15.6) and rebounds (8.3).

Clemson, buoyed by a light non-conference schedule, started the season 7-1, but were 1-7 in ACC play before stunning then-No. 24 Maryland on Feb. 1. Including the win over the Terrapins, Clemson finished the second half of conference action with a solid 4-4 record, including a three-game winning streak. They swept Maryland this season, and also beat in-state rival South Carolina.

Strengths:
Sherrod Ford- He was unequivocally the Tigers' best player this season, averaging a double-double every game.

Weaknesses:
Shooting the ball from behind a line- Clemson was just 59% from the free throw line, an Achilles heel that cost them multiple games this year. They also shot just 32% from three this year. When they shot well behind that line, like they did the second time they played Maryland, (8-12, 67%), they won nearly every time.

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