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March 17, 2004

Columbia, SC – * More than 250 enthusiastic Carolina fans were on hand at the Colonial Center Wednesday afternoon to help send off the Gamecock men’s basketball team on their trip to Kansas City for their first round NCAA game against the Memphis Tigers. Head coach Dave Odom spoke to the crowd and thanked the fans for their great support this season. Baseball coach Ray Tanner had his entire squad at the pep rally and several other USC coaches were on hand, including volleyball coach Kim Hudson.

* The team departed at 4:15 p.m. via charter aircraft for Kansas City. Once they arrived at the Westin Crown Center (team headquarters) they were greeted by several TV cameras from both South Carolina and Kansas City. Coach Odom told the media the team was anxious to get the tournament underway. “We’re looking forward to a great experience,” said Odom. “Tomorrow (Thursday) will be like a work day. I want to keep the players a little bit on edge. I think this team operates best that way. We want to be focused on what the task is and that’s to prepare to the best our ability to take on an outstanding Memphis team. I told our guys that it was basketball that got us here and that was the number one purpose of this trip, to prepare to play winning basketball.”

* The team had dinner at the Hereford Steak House in Kansas City. That is the same restaurant they dined back in November when they were in town for the Guardian’s Classic Tournament. The team won that tournament and obviously is looking for some of that same magic to work this weekend.

* Following a team meeting back at the hotel, the players retreated to their rooms. The Kansas Jayhawk team is staying at the Westin, as well, and their team arrived shortly after 10:30 p.m. after driving over from Lawrence. Former Jayhawk All-America Danny Manning, who is an assistant on the KU staff, was easily recognizable in the lobby.

* The Gamecocks are scheduled to have breakfast at the hotel on Thursday and then leave for Kemper Arena at 11:15 a.m. Practice is set for 12 noon, followed by a 1 p.m. news conference. It is uncertain what the team’s plans will be Thursday afternoon.