Jan. 23, 2004
South Carolina, 16-2 and ranked No. 25 in the AP poll this week, will look for another record crowd in its second straight SEC home game. USC hosts LSU at 7:30 pm on Saturday, Jan. 24. The game is not televised.
LSU, 12-3 and 2-2 in the SEC, is coming off a Wednesday loss at Ole Miss, 53-49. LSU shot just 36.4% and turned the ball over 15 times to the Rebels seven times.
The Tigers are coached by seventh-year head coach John Brady. LSU was 21-11 last year with a 8-8 SEC record, advancing to the NCAA Tournament. They return two starters and eight letterwinners.
USC head coach Dave Odom and LSU head coach John Brady had this to say during Thursday’s SEC teleconference:
“”LSU is a good team,” said Odom. “They handled us in the post last season. They lost a road game last night (Wednesday at Ole Miss) – so what? A lot of people lose road games in this league. But they will go back to Baton Rouge, work hard the next two days and be ready to play when they come in here on Saturday. They have some great players. I don’t think it’s a very big secret that LSU had the top recruiting class in the country last year.”
“You would think when you hold a team to what we held Ole Miss to Wednesday night; you would think you would win the game,” said Brady. “Even on the road. But that was not the case. It was very disappointing for us offensively. Until we find a way to play consistently from the perimeter, we are going to struggle. We have to be able to make some shots from the outside and find a way to get some easy baskets. My team right now is just playing the game. They don’t know how to play to win yet. I’m very gun-shy with our perimeter right now.”
USC: a top 25 team!
South Carolina is ranked No. 25 in the Associated Press poll released Monday. It is the first time the Gamecocks have been ranked in the top 25 nationally since the final poll of the 1998 season when they finished the year ranked No. 14 (no. 19 in the ESPN/USA Today poll). See page 14 for USC’s rankings in the AP poll over the years. The ESPN/USA Today Coaches poll did not show the Gamecocks in the top 25.
“This is the first for USC – but also the first for anybody on our team,” said Odom. “The first time anyone has been on a ranked team. I am pleased for the team – pleased that they put themselves in this position to be ranked. I can’t think of a team that deserves this more than this team for what they did. I am delighted and happy for the fans as well. They are starved for something good right now – they want this program to be all that it can be.
“It’s my job now to keep it up, to keep them grounded because it’s not where you start, it’s where you finish. You want to sustain the ranking and build on it. When you look at the polls, it’s great to be where you are at the present, but it doesn’t say where you’ll end up. It is my intention, my job to keep this team hungry, humble and to move straight ahead and see where it’ll lead us.”
In this week’s Dunkel Index – self-named the nation’s most accurate sports index since 1929 – USC is listed at No. 22 this week. Duke is ranked No. 1.
As of Thursday, Jan. 22, USC is ranked No. 23 in the latest Sagarin ratings. It also ranks Carolina’s SOS as 268. On collegerpi.com, USC is ranked No. 59 – a season high (1-22-04). On Sportsline.com, USC’s RPI is No. 58 – a season high – and its strength of schedule is rated at 235.
USC vs. LSU
USC has won 3 of the last four games against LSU in Columbia. USC won the last meeting in Columbia 66-53 on Feb. 20, 2001. This trip will be LSU’s first to the Colonial Center.
LSU is one of two teams in the SEC that Carolina has a winning overall series record with. USC is 9-6 against LSU and is 17-15 against Vanderbilt. USC is either at .500 or below against the remaining SEC schools.
A pretty important first impression
The Gamecocks are 19-4 against teams visiting the Colonial Center for the first time. USC is 4-4 against SEC Opponents coming to the Colonial Center for the first time. The four losses were last year to Auburn, Florida, Kentucky, and Georgia while the Gamecocks defeated Arkansas, Tennessee, Vanderbilt, and Mississippi. The only SEC teams that have not came to play USC in the Colonial Center are LSU (1/24), Alabama (2/4), and Mississippi State (2/11).
Hungry for some more Tigers
This is the third set of Tigers that USC has played this year. (Auburn, Clemson) The Gamecocks won both of those games and both of them were on the road.
SEC starts over the years USC is 3-1 in the SEC. The following is a chart after the first five games of SEC play and where they finished at the end of the year.
Year First 5 Games Final SEC Record 1991-92 2-3 3-13 1992-93 3-2 5-11 1993-94 2-3 4-12 1994-95 0-5 5-11 1995-96 3-2 8-8 1996-97 5-0* 15-1* Won SEC 1997-98 3-2 11-5 1998-99 0-5 3-13 1999-00 1-4 5-11 2000-01 2-3 6-10 2001-02 2-3 6-10 2002-03 1-4 5-11 2003-04 3-1 3-1