#19 Clemson is slated to play this weekend in the 76 Classic Tournament in Anaheim, the first big preseason tournament I can recall us being in since the Barnes era. Its on par with the Maui Invitational in terms of depth this year. Wake Forest won it last year, beating Baylor in the final game soundly.
This year will bring in 6 2009 NCAA Tournament teams, 4 ranked squads, and from 8 conferences.
#9 West Virginia will start off with Long Beach State at 2pm Thursday, followed by Clemson vs. Texas A&M at 4:30pm on ESPN2. A&M advanced to the 2nd round of the NCAAs last year. That night, #10 Butler will tipoff against #18 Minnesota and UCLA will wrap up day one against Portland. Should Clemson handle Texas A&M, we'll likely face Bob Huggins' West Virginia squad in the 2nd round.
This is not a one and done tourney, so should we fall, we will go into a losers bracket and each team will continue to play one game per day, 12 games total.
This is the first real test for the Tigers, and I'm anxious to see how well the Clemson Press stacks up against Huggins' Man/Man, 1-3-1 Zone & Pressure defense, assuming we make it past A&M. If we can keep turnovers to a minimum and not get beat in transition, I think we can beat West Virginia, but making it through this tournament unscathed is a bit of a longshot. Of real importance is how the freshmen play, because they will determine our season.
I'm hoping for at least 2 wins out of this tournament, but I'm not expecting a championship.