March 16, 2010

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When Missouri takes the floor in Buffalo on Friday afternoon, they won't be the only set of Tigers on the floor. But the similarities between Mizzou and Clemson run much deeper than a mascot.

"We've seen them play a bunch this year, actually," Kim English said. "This game will be like practice, getting after it full court."

Both teams like to get up and down the floor. Mike Anderson brought "The Fastest 40 Minutes in Basketball" to Mizzou four years ago. Oliver Purnell runs a similar frantic style in his seventh year at Clemson.

Clemson's Tigers are ready to run on Friday.

"We don't have to prepare for that or figure out how we're going to get the tempo up and those kinds of things, so I like that," Purnell said. "And I'm sure they do too. We're both kind of swimming in really comfortable waters."

"We go against it every day in practice," Clemson senior Trevor Booker said. "I don't think we'll have too much trouble with it."

Missouri averaged 77.6 points a game while Clemson checked in at 73.3. Missouri's Tigers led the nation in steals, were second in turnover margin and ranked in the top 50 in both assists and assist-to-turnover ratio. Clemson was seventh in steals and No. 36 in turnover margin. It may not be an exact reflection, but both teams will have the feeling they could be looking in a mirror come Friday.

And one thing is for sure.

"You might need an inhaler," Zaire Taylor said with a smile. "But it's going to be fun."

Tipoff will be around 2:45 Eastern time in Buffalo on Friday. The winner moves on to face West Virginia or Morgan State in round two. will continue to preview and analyze the matchup between Missouri and Clemson throughout the week.

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