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Jan. 5, 2004

South Carolina, 13-1, has already surpassed its win total from last season (12-16). USC’s 13-1 start is the best start for the Gamecocks since USC started 18-1 in 1969, losing only the second game of the year to Tennessee (54-55) during that stretch.

With the non-conference season in the rearview mirror now, USC starts conference play Wednes., Jan. 7 with the likes of the Florida Gators. The nation’s No. 1 team earlier this season, Florida comes to Columbia with a 9-2 record and a 14 AP ranking.

The Florida Gators are coached by eighth-year Head Coach Billy Donovan. UF was 25-8 last season, finishing second in the SEC East with a 12-4 record. They return three starters and 10 letterwinners.

Odom on this week, the Gamecocks

USC head coach Dave Odom had this to say on Monday’s SEC teleconference: “Florida is one of the top teams in the league and in the country by anybody’s standards. They are very young, but they are very experienced. Coach Donovan has done a great job getting them ready. On one hand I was happy to see them beat Florida State because its good for the conference, but on the other hand it worries me.

“One way to build a team’s confidence is to win. We have confidence, but we are are young. Experience is something we’ll have to watch closely over the next few games and weeks.

On the preseason non-conference schedule: “I wouldn’t have changed the way we got our team ready. The media would have preferred we play an all-comers schedule. Nothing builds confidence like winning. We’re not there yet – where a team like Florida is – but we are trying to build on what we’ve done so far. Can we compete against Florida? I don’t know that yet. Our kids feel like they have some hope right now and that builds confidence.

“I’m concerned about playing at that level, against a team like Florida or Georgia, but not because we haven’t tested ourselves.”

USC vs. the Gators, Openers

Since joining the SEC, USC is 4-7 at home against Florida. Eight of the 11 games have been decided by 10 points or less while five of them have been decided by five points or less.

The opener against . . .

The Gamecocks are opening up the season against the Florida Gators at home for the second time since USC has been in the SEC and the third time overall. The last time USC opened up the conference slate with Florida at home was on Jan. 7th, 2001. Carolina came away that day with a 69-68 thriller.

It is the second time that USC has ever opened up the season with Florida, the other opener was in Gainesville on Jan. 5, 2002. Florida won that game 69-60.

USC in SEC season openers is 5-6 and they are also 5-6 in SEC home openers.

Stacking up in the SEC

Over the years, South Carolina has a 141-196 (.418) record against teams in the Southeastern Conference. The Gamecocks are 83-71 (.539) at home, but are just 42-107 (.281) on opponents’ home floors.

Since joining the SEC, Carolina is 76-118 (.392) in regular-season league games and 88-129 (.406) overall including postseason contests (USC played LSU in the 1996 Maui Invitational, and Alabama and Vanderbilt in the 1996 postseason NIT).

Overall, South Carolina is 53-75 (.414) in games against SEC East squads since the league went to a divisional alignment when the Gamecocks and Arkansas joined the league in 1992. The Gamecocks are 35-53 (.398) against SEC West teams in that same span.

A few season, career bests

USC matched a number of season and career bests against App. State on Friday night.

As a team:

*USC had a season high with 22 assists.

* USC had a season high 32 field goals made. The previous high was 31 against Campbell.

* USC had a season high 50 rebounds. The previous high was 49 against The Citadel and Gardner Webb.

Individually: *Renaldo Balkman shot a career high seven free throw attempts.

* Kerbrell Brown had a career high seven assists.

* Brandon Wallace had a career-high five blocks – including two blocks on two straight plays.

* Rolando Howell scored seven points and grabbed three boards in nine minutes played -both season bests.

50 or less

USC has held six squads to 50 points or less this season while allowing opponents to score only 55 points a game. Number one in the SEC in scoring defense, USC (55.0) heads up that category by almost four points (Ole Miss, 58.7 ppg).

Under Odom, South Carolina has held 16 opponents to 50 points or less. USC is 14-1 in the games where they have held opponents to 50 or less. The only loss came against Auburn.

The Sweet 16 with 50 or less under Odom are: Wofford 49, Providence 48, SC State 50, Charleston Southern 41, Vanderbilt 43, Auburn 50, Ball State 47, Temple 47, The Citadel 50, Mississippi 49, Navy 40, Campbell 48, The Citadel 38, Charleston Southern 36, SC State 50 and Yale 48.

More on that

Going all the way back to the Frank McGuire era, which started in 1964, USC has held 68 opponents to 50 points or less. The most times in a season that USC has held opponents to 20 or less is seven times during the 2001-02 season (Odom’s first season at USC). The second most is this year and six times in the 1969-70 season.

Coaches since the 1964-65 season

Coach Number of times Seasons at USC

McGuire 27 16

Odom 16 in his third season at USC

Fogler 10 8

Felton 8 5

Foster 4 6

Newton 3 2

Protect this house

Currently USC has a nine game winning streak at home and a win against Florida would tie for the third longest streak at any USC home court. The streak is the longest ever at the Colonial Center The longest streak is 13 in 1973 and 1998 while the next longest streak is 11 in 1971,1974, and 1975. The third longest is 10 in 1934, and 1972.

USC is 20-4 all-time at the Colonial Center. Last year, USC was 4-4 against SEC foes. So far this season Carolina is 9-0 at home and has compiled a 16-0 mark against non-conference opponents since the building opened.

Three of the four losses were separated by seven points or less. The only loss outside of that range was a 87-69 win by Kentucky. The losses last season to: Auburn, No. 6 Florida, No. 6 Kentucky and No. 25 Georgia.

With USC scoring 86 points in the win over SCSU, it also marked the highest point total for the Gamecocks at the new facility. Kentucky holds the facility record with 87 points to USC’s 69 Feb. 1, 2003.

USC’s win over App. State pushed USC’s win streak at the Colonial Center to nine straight – the longest streak in the facilities history. USC won seven straight last year in the buildings opening year.

Get pretty fast

Including the App. State game, USC has a string of five games in a row on television. The Florida-USC game on Jan. 7 will be shown on a tape-delayed basis on the Sunshine Network. The Georgia game (Jan. 10, SEC-TV), the Auburn game (Jan. 14, Jefferson-Pilot) and the Tennessee game (Jan. 17, SEC-TV) will also all be shown live on television.

USC is 4-0 on televised games this season.

Got it

Including his tenures at South Carolina, Wake Forest and East Carolina, Odom’s career head coaching record is an impressive 325-206, with Coach Odom knotching his 325th vs. App. State last Friday. It was also his 520th as a collegiate coach in his 28th season (520-322).


Carlos Powell picked up his third double-double of the year with 17 points and 11 rebounds. The following are the season and career double-doubles for the Gamecocks.

Double-Doubles Player This Season Career Powell 3 4 Brown 1 1 Wallace 1 1 R. Howell 0 9