AP Preview - West Virginia faces Clemson in Second Round Action Thursday

 TAMPA, Fla. (AP) -- Clemson didn't have long to celebrate its first win in the NCAA tournament in 14 years.

The No. 12 seed Tigers knocked off UAB in an opening round game in Dayton, Ohio, boarded a plane well after midnight to fly to Florida, where they spent part of Wednesday resting while also preparing to face No. 5 seed West Virginia in the East region just after noon Thursday.

The 36-hour turnaround is not ideal, but coach Brad Bownell and his players aren't complaining.

"It was difficult, but you know, it's the NCAA tournament. It's a tremendous opportunity, so I'm not talking about the negatives," Brownell said. "We're going to be ready at 12 o'clock, and we're going to lace them up and be ready to go."

The Tigers (22-11) arrived in Tampa in the wee hours, checking into their hotel around 5 a.m. Players slept until noon, had brunch and began watching film of a well-rested West Virginia team that hasn't played since last week's Big East tournament.

Brownell gave the team some time for study hall and a bit more rest before heading to the St. Pete Times Forum for an evening practice, followed by more film work.

"We're all probably a little sluggish," Brownell said. "We'd like more time to watch a little more film and feel like we could have a little better practice to get ready.

"But at this stage of the season, to be in this environment and to have this opportunity, you've got to go play and prepare your guys as well as you can. Then players have got to go make plays."

West Virginia coach Bob Huggins said he doesn't think the rigorous travel and early starting time will be a factor once the Tigers and Mountaineers (22-8) take the floor.

He also suggested that getting an early start by being part of the First Four might help Clemson against a team that advanced to the Final Four a year ago because teams often are able to calm nerves after getting the opening game of a tournament behind them.

"Kids today, they play at two, and they go get a hamburger and french fries and a chocolate shake and they come back and play at six," Huggins said. "It's kind of a different breed of athletes, I think. I think they'll be fine."

In addition to preparing for the possiblity of facing either Clemson or UAB, West Virginia spent Monday and Tuesday working on things Huggins feel the Mountaineers could do better offensively and defensively.

The coach took a smilar approach after West Virginia earned a bye in the Big East tournament. Clemson was one last teams to receive an at-large berth in the NCAAs, but the Mountaineers are expecting a difficult matchup.

"I really like their team. They've got good perimeter shooters, they've got good ball handlers, and they've got four or five bigs that all have played well at different times," Huggins said.

"Watching the game last night, they just came out and decided they were going to throw it inside close and score, and they did. They were really working hard, they're extremely physical. I think they're a good team. I think they're playing really, really well now."

Clemson's Demontez Stitt said playing well against UAB bolstered the team's confidence and should serve them well against West Virginia.
"I think it could sort of work in our favor. We sort of got our motors running," the Tigers' leading scorer said. "We played the first game, we haven't been sitting out for a long time. Guys are sort of in the swing of things."

West Virginia's Kevin Jones reiterated that road-weary or not, the Mountaineers expect to get Clemson at its best.

"We're definitely not looking at it like an advantage," Jones said. "I mean, we've just got to take care of our end of the deal. We've got to come out with a lot of intensity, crash the boards hard like we normally do, and we've just got to play within ourselves, and I think we should be fine."