Jan. 28, 2003
USC Head Coach Dave Odom talked about the Tennessee game tomorrow night at his bi-weekly press conference with Columbia’s media on Tuesday.
“We’ve been looking at Tennessee for the past two days: practicing against their lineup, techniques and schemes. If you try to put it on a personal level, their team is similar to the USC team that won the conference championship in 1997. The fact that they have three great guards in Higgins, Holden and Watson plays a lot like that USC team (with Larry Davis, Melvin Watson and BJ McKie). I think the way (UT head coach) Buzz Peterson has designed his offense it is very guard-oriented in terms of handling the basketball. Then at just the right time they give the ball to Ron Slay and say score. “They don’t turn the ball over much as you would expect with great guards and perimeter players.”
Odom also talked about what Ron Slay brings to Tennessee’s team: “Then Tennessee has got what I think is one of the two leading candidates for SEC Player of the Year in Ron Slay and a much improved Crump and Wilborn inside, so you have a nice three man rotation there. If we were voting today for Player of the Year, Slay would be one of the top two, but there is a lot of the season left.”
Where is Tennessee most improved this year?
“The biggest improvement in Tennessee this year is their defense. You can look at the scores and it reflects it. I feel their defense keeps them in games along with their well-designed and executed offense.”
What has USC been working on the past few days?
“As far as our team is concerned we have been working hard this weekend and this week to improve our offense. There was a great emphasis on not taking shots but making shots. We have made some adjustments to our offense basically the personnel is going to stay pretty much the same.
“I think it is something that will improve as we approach the midpoint of the conference schedule. Right now I think our inside guys are playing well as long as we can get them some room. Chuck Eidson and Kerbell Brown have been encouraged to shoot the ball more and Marcus Morrison looked good in practice and may get a look against Tennessee.
“The one thing we will do that will force a bit of a change on the perimeter is take away most of Carlos Powell’s responsibilities on the perimeter in order to help Tony Kitchings and Rolando Howell inside. This would give each player roughly 26 minutes in the post for each player. Hopefully this will help by keeping a fresh guy in the post at all times. Now the obvious question is if he has been playing 20 minutes on the perimeter who is going to play. I have no answer there – most likely Kerbell’s minutes will go up and Marcus will see some playing time on the perimeter. “