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Jan. 16, 2004

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South Carolina, 15-2, returns home after a two-game SEC road swing that saw USC defeat Georgia last Saturday and then win an overtime thriller at Auburn on Wednesday. When USC will hosts Tennessee at 5:00 pm on Saturday, Jan. 17 USC head coach Dave Odom will be looking to notch his 50th win as the Gamecock head coach. The game, broadcast on SEC-TV, will be called by Preston Scott with Barry Booker doing the color.

Tennessee has won six of its last seven games. Tennessee has outscored its opponents 242-128 at the free throw line this season. The Tennessee Volunteers, 10-2 and 2-1 in the SEC, are coached by third-year head coach Buzz Peterson. UT was 17-12 last year with a 9-7 SEC record. They return two starters and eight letterwinners.

Tennessee will try to build on its 76-66 win over 23rd-ranked Vanderbilt on Wednesday. Scooter McFadgon and Brandon Crump each had 20 points while C. J. Watson contributed a game-high 13 rebounds and seven assists. Watson has flirted with triple-doubles in two of his last three games. Most recently he had 11 points, a career-high 13 rebounds and seven assists against Vanderbilt.


USC head coach Dave Odom and Tennessee head coach Buzz Peterson had this to say during Thursday’s SEC teleconference:

“”We look forward to the game against Tennessee,” said Odom. “They are coming off a good win versus Vanderbilt last night. We had an emotional overtime game last night and got back in late, but when you win those games, those are good problems to have. We will have to play very good basketball in order to be in a position to beat Tennessee.”

“South Carolina is one of the most improved teams in the country,” said Peterson. “They’ve already got two roads wins in conference play. Dave Odom has done a great job with this team. They are off to an exceptional start. We have our hands full with South Carolina.”

Dave vs. the Volunteers

Since Dave Odom took over as head basketball coach of the Gamecocks, Carolina is 3-1 against Vols. The one loss came last year when Tennessee defeated USC 60-56 in Knoxville. All three USC wins have been by 14 points or more.

What is he wishing for?

Mike Boynton, Jr. will celebrate his 22nd birthday on Saturday during the Tennessee game.

Looking back …

The win for South Carolina over Auburn was USC’s first against the Tigers since January 28, 1998. The win ended Auburn’s six game winning streak over the Gamecocks. One streak did continue and that streak is the tight games that Carolina and Auburn have played since 1999. After the February 3, 1999 game where Auburn won 76-48 in Columbia, Carolina and Auburn have played six games and in all six games, the margin of victory has been decided by seven points or less.

A streak we wanted to end!

The 53-51 win over Auburn in overtime was South Carolina’s first win in OT since defeating Georgia 70-66 on February 27, 1999 in Columbia. The Gamecocks had lost their last five overtime games before defeating Auburn on Wednesday night.

The overtime streak included a 72-77 loss in overtime to Auburn at the 2000 SEC Tournament.

But another ends as well

Mike Boynton, Jr. had scored in all 16 games prior to the Auburn game on Wednesday night. The senior from Brooklyn, N.Y. had reached a streak of scoring in 20 straight games. The last game that Boynton did not score in was against Florida in Gainesville on February 25, 2003.

Back to Back — On the Road!?

Defeating Georgia and Auburn on the road marks the first time USC has won back to back games on the road against SEC opponents since defeating Arkansas 62-60 on January 16, 2002 and Tennessee 94-60 on January 23, 2002.

Turnover, Rebounds

This season, USC has turned the ball over a total of 221 times and averages 13 a game. Four times this season, they have had their turnover total in single digits.

During the 2002-03 season, USC accomplished this feat only four times. In 17 games this season, only three times have they turned the ball over more or equaled than their opponents total.

Last season USC was out rebounded or equaled their opponents total 19 times. The Gamecocks went 5-14 in those 19 games. This season, Carolina has been out rebounded or equaled the opponents total 10 times. USC is 9-1 in those 10 games.


USC has held nine opponents to shoot under 35% from the field this season. (Navy, Richmond, Campbell, The Citadel, Charleston Southern, SC State, Yale, Appalachian State, and Auburn) USC is 9-0 in those games. Only four times this season has an opponent shot over 40% against South Carolina. (Gardner-Webb, Temple, NC State, Florida) USC is 2-2 in those games and all of those games have been decided by 10 points or less.

USC has 13 of its 17 opponents under 40% from the field as well. Another stat, in 13 of its 17 games this season, USC’s defense has held opponents to nine or more points under their average. In only three games this season has a team scored more than they have averaged against USC: Gardner-Webb (first game of the year, last year’s average), SMS and Temple.

Cracking someone’s

In this week’s Dunkel Index – self-named the nation’s most accurate sports index since 1929 – USC is listed at No. 25 this week. Louisville is ranked No. 1.

USC is ranked No. 24 in the latest Sagarin ratings (1-16-04) – a season high. It also ranks Carolina’s SOS as 277.

On, USC is ranked No. 82 (1-14-04). On, USC’s RPI is No. 88 but its strength of schedule is rated at 295. In both polls this week USC received votes.

Another 20 points or less

Auburn scored 19 points in the second half on Wednesday, joining quite a crowd this year. This season there have been eight halves where USC’s defense has kept opponents to 20 or less points. They are as follows: 1. 18 by Navy in the second half on Nov. 21, 2003; 2. The Citadel scored 18 in the first half and 3. 20 in the second half on Dec. 3, 2003; 4. Charleston Southern scored 18 in the first and 5. 18 in the second on Dec. 17, 2003; 6. South Carolina State scored 18 points in the first half on Dec. 22, 2003; 7. Yale scored 20 in the first half on Dec. 30, 2003 and 8. Auburn scored 19 points in the second half on Jan. 14, 2004.

Last year, there were only two halves where Carolina held opponents to 20 points or less scoring. (19 by Temple in first half on Dec. 2, 2002 and 15 by Ole Miss in the first half on Jan. 8, 2003).