Clemson (7) Best Case: Oliver Purnell gets off the NCAA schneid after five career losses at three...
Best Case: Oliver Purnell gets off the NCAA schneid after five career losses at three schools, thanks to Trevor Booker terrorizing undermanned Missouri in the paint. Not done there, Clemson's pressure defense gets to West Virginia's suspect ball handlers. The Tigers are embraced by orange-loving fans in Syracuse, where they beat New Mexico in the Sweet Sixteen on a Tanner Smith 3. They're finally broomed out by Kentucky in the regional final, but not before showing the football team what it's like to actually overachieve.
Worst Case: Purnell stays on the schneid as his team blows a 15-point second-half lead to Missouri. In a collapse unsuitable for the eyes of children, Clemson misses eight of 11 free throws and turns the ball over four times in the final four minutes. Purnell himself covers his face with his orange suit coat near the end. Clemson football fans say, yes, this does look familiar. Meanwhile, South Carolina coach Darrin Horn gets another five-star commitment.
Best Case: After doing everything but putting signs around campus looking for his missing shooting stroke, guard Kim English gets it back at just the right time. After going 19-for-67 over the past month, English finds his range and shoots Mizzou past bumbling Clemson in the first round. Then Zaire "Big Shot" Taylor makes another one at the buzzer, this time to stun West Virginia. The Tigers press third-round opponent New Mexico into distress and advance to the Elite Eight for the second straight year before losing to Kentucky. The school breaks the bank to keep Mike Anderson, who has an excellent recruiting class coming in. After Kansas gets upset in the Sweet Sixteen, a wild street party ensues in Columbia.
Worst Case: The fading team that takes difficult shots -- and misses them -- does more of the same against Clemson and ends the season with four losses in its last five games. English's shooting form never returns. The press doesn't produce enough turnovers and easy baskets. Anderson is offered big bucks at Auburn and jumps at it, a year after turning down Georgia. Then the Missouri Misery Index spikes when the Jayhawks win it all again.