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Dec. 5, 2003

Starting the season 7-0 for the first time since 1971, USC will play at Clemson on Saturday, Dec. 6 at 7:00 pm. The game is the second of three road games USC will play the next two weeks (defeated The Citadel 70-38 and at Temple Dec. 15).

The game will be broadcast on television by SEC-TV to a Southeast audience. The game will be called by Mike Goldberg (play-by-play) and Dan Bonner (color).

Clemson, 3-1, is led by first year head coach Oliver Parnell (Old Dominion, 1975). In its last game, Clemson fell at Purdue 76-64 on Wednesday night. The Tigers were 15-13 in 2002-03, including 5-11 in the ACC and return four starters and nine letterwinners from that team.

USC is 85-68 lifetime against Clemson winning 76-59 in the two school’s last meeting (Feb. 12, in Columbia). Their series dates back 90 years with USC winning the first match-up 39-18 on Feb. 6, 1913.

South Carolina has posted three straight wins over the Tigers, all of them in double digits. USC leads the series 85-68. Coach Dave Odom is 21-8 all-time against Clemson. He is 8-5 when he takes his team into Little John. On his own home court, Odom is 12-1.

Seven and Counting

Carolina currently has a seven-game winning streak to start the 2003-04 season. The longest winning streak at SC under Coach Odom was five.

USC hasn’t started 7-0 since the the 1971-72 season under legendary coach Frank McGuire. The 7-0 start in 1971 included wins over Auburn, California and Virginia Tech. That team ended up 24-5 and lost to Villanova in the East Regional of the NCAA Tournament.

How about ya?

Stepping in for senior Kerbrell Brown, one might think freshman Brandon Wallace would have some freshman jitters in his first start at The Citadel. Not so as the Jackson, S.C. native picked up the first double-double of his career with 10 points and 11 rebounds. The 6’9 forward also blocked three shots and had an assist and a steal. In fact Wallace has collected 23 rebounds in the last three games.

Asked if he was nervous he shrugged his shoulders and said ‘no, I just wanted to go out there and have fun.’

Less than Navy?

Is South Carolina making a habit of this against military-affiliated institutions? First, USC held Navy to just 40 points on Nov. 21. Wednesday night against the Gamecocks, The Citadel only mustered 38 points, scoring 18 points in the first half. It was the least amount of points for an opponent since Maryland defeated USC 31-30 in 1971.

If and Only

The last time USC started a season 7-0: 1971-72 under Coach Frank McGuire. The Gamecocks finished the season at 24-5 and advanced to the NCAA East Regional.

You won’t catch the USC coaching staff or players looking ahead to 9-0, but why not just find out when it last happened for the Garnet and Black?

The year before USC started the season 9-0, finishing at 23-6 and advancing to the NCAA East Regional.

The best start ever was in 1933-34 when USC went 18-1. That team won its first 17 games of the year. Their only loss was to N.C. State in the second to last game of the year at the Southern Conference Tournament (24-43).

But his best is a few games away

This season’s 7-0 start is the best for USC under Coach Odom, but not Odom’s best start as a head coach. It would take six more wins – through the Appalachian State game on Jan. 2, to equal his best start ever as head coach. His 1996-97 Wake Forest team went 13-0 before finishing the season at 24-7 and advancing to the second round of the NCAA Tournament. In Odom’s last season at Wake, his team started the season at 12-0, finishing at 19-11 with another NCAA Tournament bid.

Odom vs. Clemson

Coach Odom holds a 21-8 record against the Clemson Tigers and is 2-0 against the Tigers since coming to USC. At Little John Coliseum, Odom is 8-5. Since the 1998-99 season at Wake Forest, Odom is 8-0 against Clemson: 6-0 at Wake Forest and 2-0 at South Carolina. His last loss against Clemson came on March 6, 1998 at the ACC Tournament in Greensboro, N.C.

Don’t put that up

Freshman Brandon Wallace blocked four shots against Campbell in 19 minutes. The team leader this year is Carlos Powell, who blocked five shots against Richmond last week.

Double-Double, Double-Double

Carlos Powell’s 13 points against The Citadel marked the 37th time that he has scored in double figures in his career. He has scored in double figures the first seven games this year and is averaging 13.7 ppg and a team-leading 8.4 rpg. He has blocked 1.3 shots per game and has 1.1 spg.

Powell added the fifth double-double of his career against Richmond when he scored 12 points and pulled down 12 rebounds. He also tallied five blocks and one steal. He posted a double-double against Gardner Webb in the first game of the year this season.

Diaper Dandies: Fab Five

USC brought in five newcomers this year – four freshmen (Renaldo Balkman, Brandon Wallace, Paulius Joneliunas and Tre Kelley) and one JUCO transfer, Josh Gonner. Thus far in the 2003-04 campaign USC is averaging 74.7 ppg. The Fab Five are averaging over 37 percent of the Gamecocks points with 27.8 ppg as a collective group with only Paulius Joneliunas looking for the first points of his career. The five have also scored in double figures 10 times the first six games (Gonner and Balkman three times, and Kelley and Wallace twice).

Helping out with the boards too, the Gamecocks average 41.3 rebounds per contest with the five averaging 15.3 rpg amongst themselves.

Wallace has the Fab Fives only double-double of the year, collecting 10 points and 11 rebounds against The Citadel on Wednesday.