Feb. 7, 2003
Looking for its second straight win over the Commodores, South Carolina will make its second of two trips out of state on Saturday, traveling to Nashville, Tenn., to take on Vanderbilt at 8 pm (ET).
USC defeated VU in their last meeting, 66-43 in Nashville, February 16, 2002. The Gamecocks have won 10 of the last 13 meetings. USC Head Coach Dave Odom is 3-3 against the Commodores lifetime, while VU Head Coach Kevin Stallings is 2-4 against South Carolina.
USC, 7-11 and 1-7 in the SEC, fell 58-71 at LSU on Wednesday night. USC started off the SEC season with a 55-49 win over Mississippi and has lost seven straight league games.
Vanderbilt, 10-9 and 3-5 in the SEC, fell at No. 22 Mississippi State, 60-82, on Wednesday night. Vandy is 3-1 at home in the SEC this year and 0-4 on the road. Overall, Vandy has had problems away from the roost, as the Commodores are 0-7 on the road 2002-03.
The Vanderbilt game will be carried on the radio airwaves by the Gamecock Sports Network (for radio listings see page 13). Charlie McAlexander (play-by-play) and Casey Manning (color) will call the action on more than 25 stations in the Palmetto State and world-wide on the internet at www.uscsports.com.
USC Head Coach Dave Odom spoke to media prior to South Carolina’s game at Vanderbilt on Saturday.
“Playing at Vanderbilt is difficult any year. Two reasons: configuration of the building and given the fact that anywhere we go, it is going to be difficult.
“They have only lost two games at home and those were to Kentucky and Connecticut. We know how good they are at home if you look at the record they have beaten both Georgia and Alabama there.
“It is far more important at this time not where we play and who we play, but how we play. We have got to concentrate on improving ourselves and the things that have gotten us into this hole. I was very pleased with yesterday’s practice and expect the same results this afternoon. We had everybody in practice yesterday and I expect everyone to be there today and everyone available at tip off tomorrow. I don’t know about starting line up right now, as I look more at the Vanderbilt team and try and figure out match ups I will make the decisions.
“When you look at Vanderbilt with Matt Freije there is no question they have an all-conference type of player. He is an excellent shooter who is very much in the mold of Dan Freely who is now playing in the NBA. They also have an excellent inside threat with Thornton in the middle. They have got some really good players and they play well on their home floor.
“Our team right now understands my concern. The thing we really have to be committed to is doing things that physically we can do. Like good transition defense and blocking people out for rebounds. We know who we are guarding and can make an attempt to get the basketball. There is not a team at this level who shouldn’t be able to block out and rebound the ball effectively and get back and play transition defense. If we can secure those areas I think they will go a long way in curing our ills. “
When you started John Chappell did you expect to play him more than 6 minutes?
“Yes I did. As we got into it we fell behind early and I felt we had to go to a more proven inside presence. I think John will play again tomorrow night. I was very pleased with his effort. I thought he did a good job of banging around bodies and cutting off passing lanes. I think it was a good first starting opportunity for him and he could start again tomorrow night.”
Are you noticing that the guys are starting to get worn down by the lack of success recently?
“We have been on the road a lot and it is getting close to the middle of February. I think what you find is that the teams that are playing well and winning are having an easier time practicing. They are crisper and there are less distractions and practice runs smoothly.
On the opposite side when you are not wining and your team is not playing well, those things are running in reverse. Our team is still fighting and is still committed to being the best that we can be. Until we break the skid the weight will get heavier and heavier, but it will happen.”