Oct. 22, 2007
Greensboro, NC – The Clemson men’s basketball team was selected fourth in the preseason Atlantic Coast Conference poll released Sunday at the league’s annual media day event. North Carolina received all 64 first-place votes, while Duke was predicted second and N.C. State third in the conference.
Clemson’s fourth-place projection is the highest preseason forecast for the men’s basketball program since the 1997-98 campaign. That year, the Tigers were picked to finish third in the conference and ended up tied for fourth. The 1997-98 team advanced to the NCAA Tournament for the third straight year under then Head Coach Rick Barnes. Clemson was actually predicted third in back-to-back years under Barnes.
Clemson has now been predicted fourth or higher in the ACC preseason poll seven times since 1970. Clemson has advanced to the NCAA Tournament the last three seasons (1989-90, 1996-97, 1997-98) in which it was selected fourth or higher in the preseason conference poll.
The fourth-place prediction is also the highest under current Head Coach Oliver Purnell. Over the past four years, Purnell’s program has increased its win total by at least three every season, culminating with a school record 25 last year.
The Tigers return four starters from last year’s squad and 11 letterwinners. Nine of the team’s top 10 scorers also return to give Clemson a veteran presence. Four players who averaged double figures a year ago return, including leading scorer K.C. Rivers and starters Trevor Booker, Cliff Hammonds, and James Mays.
Clemson will get the 2007-08 regular season underway on Monday, November 12 with a home game against Furman.
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