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Clemson Vs. West Virginia, NCAA Tournament 2011: Can Clemson Overcome The Short Turnaround?

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The Clemson Tigers face off in the "second round" against the West Virginia Mountaineers Thursday at 12:15 in Tampa, Florida, a mere 36 hours after winning their play-in game over UAB on Tuesday. Jerai Grant led the Tigers to their first tournament win in 14 years with a career night in the win over the Blazers.

Every single ranking system that I use for bracket help picks the Mountaineers, but this will be an interesting case study in the tournament's new format. Clemson could be tired and lose as expected, or they could be much crisper and more ready to go than West Virginia. 

The two teams do have a few common opponents this year in Miami and Seton Hall. Both teams beat Seton Hall, while Clemson swept the series with the Hurricanes and West Virginia lost in early December at Miami. 

SB Nation Atlanta's Prediction: Clemson is better than people might give them credit for, but their tough travel schedule will be the difference as West Virginia pulls ahead for good in the second half. 

For more on this game, head to Shakin The Southland and The Smoking Musket. 

Photographs by coka_koehler used in background montage under Creative Commons. Thank you.