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Jan. 2, 2006


USC-Tennessee game on Sunday, Jan. 8 moved to 1:30 pm

Playing its last non-conference game of the season, USC will host South Carolina State at 7 pm on Tues., Jan. 3 at the Colonial Center. USC, 8-4, will host its last in-state rival this year as well, with the Bulldogs coming to Columbia with a 3-7 record.

Monday afternoon USC head coach Dave Odom met with reporters to talk about the South Carolina State game.

A few Coach Odom comments:

“I am of the opinion we need to get more physical inside. We have to play our bigger, more physical players longer. Because it could effect the offensive play, it’s a real challenge and a delicate balance. I have seen it coming and in the back of my min I knew it, so I think we are doing the right thing.

“Tuesday night I would like to open with Antoine Tisby, Brandon Wallace and Renaldo Balkman in the front line and then Tre’ and Tarence in the back court. We are looking to bring Rocky (Trice) off the bench. Rocky to me is such a valuable player. He is playing pretty well so I am going to experiment with bringing him off the bench. We play pretty well to start the game and then sometimes we bring people off the bench and we lose some energy. I am hoping Rocky will pick things up coming off the bench. I think he will give us some energy. You will also see more of Bryce Sheldon on Tuesday as well. We want to continue to bring him along. And also Osumane Konate as he continues to develop. I thought Osumane played very good defense against Detroit.

“If you look at our loses, to me, you trace them to our inability to hold our own inside. It’s pure and simple. The Pittsburgh game we got violated on the boards, Clemson we didn’t hold our own inside, a bit of the same with Marquette and the Temple game it was more the perimeter that took us to task.

“Brandon Wallace has played better since the Clemson game. It’s not as much offense as defense to me. Once you begin to substitute for defense with Antoine Tisby and Osumane Konate, the challenge is keeping people like Brandon Wallace in the line-up to score and to keeping it flowing. We showed some signs of having better understanding this against Detroit. I don’t think it will be perfect Tuesday night, but it think it will be better than it was the other night.

“We have been emphasizing ball movement in the last few days. We hold the ball too much. We need to get the ball out of our hands and not hold it. We need to find balance between the inside and the outside. We need to be able to throw the ball inside some and not shoot and throw it out and then back in and shoot and make it.

“I watched last year’s tape against South Carolina State yesterday and it made me sick. In last year’s game the stars were lined up for upset city (USC won 68-65 in OT). They outplayed us last year. The biggest problem they have had this year are some injuries. Thurman Zimmerman is a load. The best player right now is Brian Mason, he is averaging 15 ppg. They sub freely, too.

“I hope we have a much better crowd on Tuesday night than we did against Detroit Mercy now that the football crowd is back. This is a must win game tomorrow night. We have to win the game.”