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Feb. 18, 2005

South Carolina travels to Tuscaloosa looking for its second SEC road win in as many games when the Gamecocks take on No. 16 Alabama at 3 pm (EST) on Saturday, Feb. 19 on Jefferson-Pilot with Tim Brando and Larry Conley. No. 16 Alabama is the second straight ranked team the Gamecocks have played as they defeated No. 3 Kentucky in Columbia on Tuesday.

Alabama leads the all-time series 17-9 and have won four of the last five with SC. USC won last season’s meeting in Columbia 90-82 in overtime. Alabama leads the overall series 8-1 in Tuscaloosa. The only USC win that came in Tuscaloosa was during the 1996-97 season when Carolina took a 62-60 victory over the Crimson Tide – the same year the Gamecocks won the SEC title.

“Alabama is an excellent ball club. If we don’t compete our results will be the same as many others who have played there this year,” said USC Head Coach Dave Odom. “My team has to understand what we’re signing up for tomorrow and it’ll be a real test of our coming back after the win over Kentucky. Alabama is a Kentucky-like team in terms of strength, efficiency, ability to win. We know they are good and I don’t think I will have trouble getting this team to concentrate.

“We have to compete. We have to play physical, we have to put bodies on people, have to score. One thing we have to find is depth. They play with 5-6 players — we have to get down to nine and 10 and make it a positive for us.

“We have shown our character this week through a bad loss and a really good win. We have proven we can come back. We have good character and are able to come back and play well. Right now I have to remind them that it’s one game and now we have another. The next challenge, Alabama, is every bit as difficult as the one we just had. We have to get it done.”


The Gamecocks enter the Alabama game with a 14-8 record overall and a 6-5 mark in conference play. Home court advantage had helped out the Gamecocks prior to the Auburn loss, but USC has lost just two at home this year (Clemson and Auburn), collecting an 12-2 record at the Colonial Center this season.

The Gamecocks are 5-1 at the Colonial Center this season in SEC games, including its 73-61 win over No. 3 Kentucky. Last year Carolina was 5-3 in SEC play at home with the three losses coming against No. 14 Florida, No. 6 Kentucky and No. 6 Mississippi State.

On the road, the Gamecocks have played teams close but have only one road win to six losses. Five of the six losses have been by eight points or less, while four of the six have been by four or less. Four of the six teams have been nationally ranked with the four being ranked in the Top 17.

About Them, Playing Us

No. 16 Alabama enters the game 20-4 and 9-2 in the SEC. Behind Chuck Davis’ 21 points, the Crimson Tide defeated Arkansas 72-63 at home on Wednesday.

The Crimson Tide enter the game having won nine of their last 10 games. Alabama is 12-0 at home this season. The Tide are led by three players in double figures: Kennedy Winston (17.5 ppg), Earnest Shelton (16.9 ppg) and Chuck Davis (14.4 ppg). Jermareo Davidson leads the team in rebounds, averaging 8.4 rpg.

An Elite Eight participant in last year’s NCAA Tournament, USC got the best of UA last year in Columbia, coming away with a 90-82 overtime win on Feb. 4, 2004. The game featured 30 three pointers with `Bama knocking down 16 threes to USC’s 14.

SEC Home Win Starts Over

A four game SEC home winning streak, the longest since USC posted seven straight SEC home wins since the 1997-98 season, was snapped with the three point loss to Auburn on Saturday. But USC started a new winning streak on Tuesday against Kentucky with its 73-61 win. USC has two more SEC games at home: Florida on Feb. 27 and Senior Night on March 6 vs. Ole Miss.

The most SEC wins in two straight seasons is 15 (95-96 and 96-97) and 22 straight in three seasons (95-96, 96-97 and 97-98). The streak started after USC played and lost to UK on Jan. 3, 1996. USC won its next 22 straight SEC home games before losing to the Wildcats on Feb. 28, 1998.

Not anymore!

No. 3 Kentucky was the first ranked team to come to Columbia this year and they became South Carolina’s first win over a ranked opponent this season. Kentucky is the highest ranked team USC has defeated since it defeated the Wildcats on March 2, 1997 72-66. UK was ranked No. 3 to USC’s No. 6. The win clinched the SEC title for USC.

The highest ranked team USC has ever defeated was No. 2 North Carolina on Feb. 14, 1969, 68-66 (at Charlotte). At the time USC was ranked No. 19. Later that month, No. 2 UNC defeated No. 8 USC 68-62 in Columbia. They have defeated two No. 3’s (Kentucky in 1997 and Kentucky in 2005).

The Gamecocks were 0-4 this season against ranked opponents (all on the road) prior to the Kentucky win. On the road, USC lost all four of the games to ranked opponents by eight points or less with three of the four decided by four or less.

The Gamecocks were so close to upsetting some top ranked teams over the past two seasons. Six games against ranked opponents have been decided by four points or less.

USC’s Wins over Ranked Teams Since They Joined the SEC

Date Opp. Opponent Score Location

2-15-05 3 Kentucky 73-61 Columbia, S.C.

3-8-02 12 Kentucky 70-57 Atlanta, Ga.

1-30-02 16 Georgia 80-67 Columbia, S.C.

1-7-01 5 Florida 69-68 Columbia, S.C.

3-10-00 8 Tennessee 75-68 Atlanta, Ga.

3-4-00 25 Vanderbilt 77-72 Nashville, Tenn.

3-7-98 10 Mississippi 87-77 Atlanta, Ga.

2-1-98 18 Cincinnati i 67-65 Columbia, S.C.

3-2-97 3 Kentucky 72-66 Lexington, Ky.

2-15-97 8 Cincinnati 97-83 Cincinnati, Oh.

2-4-97 3 Kentucky 84-79 OT Columbia, S.C.

1-18-97 21 Georgia 82-71 Columbia, S.C.

3-5-94 7 Kentucky 75-74 Columbia, S.C.

What’s New?

The Gamecocks have led or have been tied at the half in eight of 11 SEC games this season. USC is 1-2 when they are trailing at the half and both of the game that they lost were both on the road. The win was at home against Vanderbilt while the two losses came against Florida and LSU.

Back to Back Against Ranked Teams

With USC taking a 73-61 win over #3 UK on Tuesday night, the Gamecocks have a chance to win back to back against ranked opponents. If USC defeats No. 16 Alabama on Saturday, it will be the first time since the Gamecocks defeated #8 Cincinnati 97-83 on February 15, 1997 and #3 Kentucky 72-66 on March 2, 1997 that they defeated ranked opponents back to back. Both of those games were on the road and were part of a seven-game winning streak that USC started with the win against Cincinnati. USC had also won the previous two games against ranked opponents entering the Cincinnati game (84-79 OT vs. #3 UK, 2-4-97 and 82-71 vs. #21 UGA on 1-18-97). USC won four in a row before losing to 24th ranked Georgia on March 8, 1997 in the SEC Tournament.