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Getting To Know Your Enemy

Now that we've weeded out the small fries from the NIT and its only us big boys left, its time to stop worrying about attendance records and start worrying about the task at hand.

I think it was Socrates who said "Fist in ya face, in the place, and I'll drop the style clearly...Know your enemy!" With that in mind, I've asked the folks over The Sporting Gnomes, purveyors of all things Clemson, to help us out in learning a little more about these Tigers who we've watched from afar all these years, admiring their choice in uniform color.

Here's five tidbits (plus a little bonus nugget):

1. If you hear "Clemson" and think it's located in Alabama, you've confused us with Auburn. In fact, there are so many different schools with Tigers as mascots, it might be easy to think Clemson is in Missouri, Tennessee, Louisiana, or New Jersey (as in U of Missouri, Memphis, LSU, and Princeton (and if you confuse Clemson with Princeton you're just really not even paying attention)). In fact, Clemson is in South Carolina. Furthermore, it is in the part of the state that most of the country doesn't know even exists: the part without beaches.

2. If you did or do confuse Clemson with Auburn there are a couple good reasons for it. First, both schools are Southern land-grant institutions. Second, we pretty much copied them. Clemson's first football coach, Walter T. Riggs came to Clemson in 1896 from Auburn and he just may have suggested that the new football team call themselves the Tigers.

3. Notable Clemson alumni include long-serving US Senator and infamous womanizer Strom Thurmond (Class of '23) and Robert Brooks (Class of '60), the founder of Naturally Fresh foods and Chairman of the Board of everyone's favorite restaurant chain, Hooters.

4. Clemson basketball is, sadly, almost an afterthought in the subject of Clemson athletics (this might be why the first 3 things in "5 things to know about Clemson basketball" have nothing to do with Clemson basketball. The last semi-major basketball success for Clemson was finishing as the runner-up in the 1999 NIT tournament.

5. Things are getting better for the basketball program, however. Head coach Oliver Purnell's first team went just 10-18. Now in his 4th season the team is sitting at a much more palatable 23-10.

Bonus: Having the next game in Littlejohn Coliseum may not be a huge advantage for the Tigers. Wednesday night's game is being played right in the middle of Clemson's spring break.

Keep an eye on Gnomes for the next few days as well as ClemsonHoop to get some insight before Wednesday night.