2007 CBB NIT Championship - Clemson (-1, 137½) vs. West Virginia 7:00 PM ET
This is getting to be old hat for West Virginia, playing for a NIT championship. That might be a slight exaggeration considering the last time was 1948 when they defeated Western Kentucky.
Now the Mountaineers will try to replicate this much earlier event against a Clemson team that seems to play have the concentration level of a two year old.
West Virginia was being dominated by Mississippi State, who led by 14 points in the early stages of the second half until they started too whittle away at the lead.
The Mountaineers used an unconventional out of bounds play to hit game winning three point shot and advance to tonight’s title tilt. John Beilein’s club won despite only making 36.5 percent from the floor. His team is 7-2 straight up and 4-4 ATS after failing to make more then 40% of shot attempts.
Clemson went the other route in advancing to championship game. The Tigers led by 13 early in the second half and gave that all away to be tied 51 by Air Force. Over the next 4:44, Clemson went on 14-4 run to take 10 point lead with just 2:12 left in second game and appeared a lock to win and cover.
The Falcons weren’t done yet and Clemson was only all to accommodating to help them. The Tigers missed shots, free throws and made poor decisions on passes that lead to Air Force crawling to within single point with 1.2 seconds remaining. Fortunately they ran out the clock to survive and move on.
The Tigers highly disturbing trend continued against the Air Force. Oliver Purnell’s team made more three points shots then free throws and shot a higher percentage as well. Clemson was 7-17 from the supposed charity stripe (41.2%) and knocked down nine trifecta’s in twenty attempts. (45%) For the season they are now down to embarrassing 57.8 percent from the free throw line.
StatFox Doug wonders how you support this ACC club in the championship game, who is a 1.5-point favorite at sportsbook.com. “With the line being this tight, I can’t possibly support a team so futile at the free throw line. West Virginia makes 76.3 percent from the line in all road games this season and is well equipped with unusual offense to make life miserable on Tigers defense that allows 46.7 percent from the field in all road games.”
Clemson will be undertaking the task of bringing the NIT trophy back to South Carolina for a third straight year, as the Gamecocks have won the two previous times. The Tigers lost to California back in 1999 is this position and are 11-3 ATS in road games after a game where they made 53% of their free throws or less.
Under coach Beilein West Virginia has been a late season money maker with 12-1 ATS record in a post-season tournament games. As a head coach, Oliver Purnell is 5-15 ATS in road games after successfully covering the spread in three or more consecutive games.
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