By Staff Report.
Clemson head coach Brad Brownell held a press conference Wednesday to preview the West Virginia game at St. Pete Times Forum.
COACH BROWNELL: We’re just excited to be here, proud of how well our guys played a few hours ago, I guess it was now, against UAB. I thought we played really well and got after them defensively. We know we’re going to have to do more of the same against West Virginia. Very impressed with their team, very strong, very physical. I’ve known Coach Huggins for a while, and he does a terrific job of getting the most out of his talent, so it should be a very physical, exciting game.
Q. A lot has been made about the traveling that you guys have gone through. When you look at everything that has led to this point, what’s been the easiest part?
COACH BROWNELL: The easiest part? I don’t know what the easiest part has been. It was difficult, but you know, it’s the NCAA Tournament. It’s a tremendous opportunity, so I’m not talking about the negatives. You know, we’re going to be ready at 12:00 and we’re going to lace them up and be ready to go. You know, we had difficult travel after the game last night. We’re all probably a little sluggish today. We’d like more time to watch a little more film and feel like we could have a little better practice to get ready for West Virginia, but at this stage of the season, to be in this environment and to have this opportunity, you’ve just got to go play and prepare your guys as well as you can. And then players got to go make plays. This is the time of year when players got to go make plays. And we think our team is playing well, and West Virginia is doing the same, so it should be a heck of a game.
Q. Could you kind of take us through the last 12, 18 hours here and give us a play by play of where you were and what you were doing?
COACH BROWNELL: We finished the game late. It was after midnight when the game ended, I think. Then we had to do some interviews. So got on the bus. It was closer to 1:00. Went to the airport and had to wait around a little bit there for I guess some fuel problems. But then got on a plane, really got down here about 5:00 when we got into our hotel, let the guys sleep until close to noon and got them up, had a breakfast/brunch, I guess, if you will, then watched film on West Virginia and talked about West Virginia with our guys for about an hour. Actually did some study hall for an hour after that, and then let the guys have a couple hours to go back and hopefully take a short nap, came here for this, and then we’ll try to meet again tonight.
Q. I don’t know if you saw, originally they had you doing a media session here at 11:20 this morning. I didn’t know whether you had seen that or even had a chance to object to that at some point.
COACH BROWNELL: No, I didn’t have any idea what the plan was until somebody told me late last night or early this morning, I guess, really what it was, what our obligations were. You know, it’s been fine. We had some meetings that we had to go to, a pre‑tournament meeting and some stuff like that. But we’re doing what we need to do to get prepared.
Q. When you look at West Virginia, there doesn’t seem to be a guy that stands out. What is the biggest thing you noticed about them that makes them a tough team?
COACH BROWNELL: They have the qualities of their coach, very tough, very physical, strong will to win, competitive. You know, a team that really plays inside out. Coach Huggins’ teams, I’ve followed them from his time at Cincinnati. He always makes those guys play unbelievably hard and they rebound exceptionally well. They defend you on every possession. It’s hard to get easy baskets, and they pound the ball at you inside. They go after you inside out.
Ironically, I do think they have a team that ‑‑ they don’t shoot a tremendous three‑point percentage, but I think they have a variety of guys on their team and on the court at one time that can make threes. And so there’s a time when they can get a couple guys hot, might be one guy one day Casey Mitchell, might be Truck Robinson, they’ve got a bunch of them, might be whomever, Flowers. But they have a bunch of guys that can make shots that can complement their strong inside game, and certainly their game, I think, takes on the personality of their coach.
Q. In terms of getting your players ready to attack their weaknesses, though, you probably can’t do quite as much as what you’d like because they just saw them this morning, though, correct?
COACH BROWNELL: Yeah, I think that’s where you wish you had one more day, just a day, to kind of refresh and go through things one more time. It’s just really quick. And again, it’s a team that you haven’t played, it’s a team you haven’t followed, it’s a team your players haven’t followed.
Oftentimes when you’re playing consecutive days like in a conference tournament, you’ve already played teams two or three times or that’s going to be your second or third time to play them so you have an idea. Here you don’t; you’ve just got to go play. It’s not unlike what we just did, though, with UAB. We didn’t really know a lot about UAB, and in 48 hours we tried to get to know about as much as you can about them. And now we’ve got to do it in about 32 to 36 hours with West Virginia.