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Jan. 5, 2006

Travel to Ole Miss, Host Georgia next week

Opening its 15th year of play in the Southeastern Conference, South Carolina, 9-4, will host Tennessee, 9-1, in a televised game on Sunday, Jan. 8 at 1:30 pm (game time was originally 4 pm). Tennessee leads the all-time series 23-21 with the home team winning the last seven games. Carolina extended a new home winning streak to two with an 81-46 win over South Carolina State on Jan. 3. In the Colonial Center, USC is shooting almost 49% and its opponents are shooting 35%.

The UT game, televised on Jefferson-Pilot, will be called by Tom Hammond and Joe Dean, Jr. on JP. Every SEC home game this year will be televised with four on JP, two on ESPN, one on CBS and one on FSNS. USC is 5-4 on TV on television thus far and 13 of the 16 SEC games will be either shown live (12) or on tape-delay (at Florida, SUN).

The UT game will also be carried on the Gamecock Radio Network with Mike Morgan (play-by-play) and Casey Manning (color analyst). In addition, the game can be heard via the internet at and on Sirius Radio at channel 126.

“It’s gonna take a real effort on our part against Tennessee,” said USC head coach Dave Odom. “We’ve won our last two games, but we weren’t playing the same caliber team as Tennessee. We have some weaknesses, but we have some real strengths as well. Defensively we are beginning to find ourselves, but offensively we continue to struggle. We don’t always have good balance inside and outside – I don’t think we’ve found that yet.

“(Tennessee’s) Chris Lofton has to be one of the top three long range shooters in the country and no one knows it better than Dave Odom,” said Odom. “He burned us for 7 3’s from another area code the last time we played them. He is a much better player this year.”

Three of the five Gamecock starters are averaging double figure points and two starters are averaging 6.5+ rebounds per game as well. Individually Carolina is led by Tarence Kinsey, who is averaging a team-leading 15.6 ppg and is third with 4.5 rpg. Tre’ Kelley is second with 11.3 ppg and leads the team with 3.2 apg. Renaldo Balkman leads the team with 6.5 rpg, 1.9 spg, 1.9 bpg and 10 dunks; is second with 2.9 apg and third with 11.0 ppg.

Another junior, Brandon Wallace, is second with 6.5 rpg and nine dunks, second with 1.8 bpg, third with 2.8 apg and fourth with 8.2 ppg.


Tre’ Kelley has 4+ assists in five games this year with a high of 8 vs. Winthrop. Tarence Kinsey has scored in double figures 10 times this year and 38 times total as a Gamecock. Renaldo Balkman has 5+ rebounds in 10 games this year and Brandon Wallace has that same tally plus in seven games this season.

Next week

After hosting Tennessee on Sunday, Carolina will travel to Ole Miss for an 8 pm (EST) non-televised contest with Ole Miss on Wed., Jan. 11 before returning home to host Georgia on Sat., Jan. 14 at 3 pm (JP televised).

At least seven

The Gamecocks have won seven or more SEC games in two of Coach Odom’s four seasons at USC (2003-04, 2004-05). Before Odom’s arrival, USC won seven or more SEC games in only three seasons (1995-96, 1996-97, 1997-98).

If history repeats itself – we got this one

With UT leading the series 23-31, the home team has won the last seven games in the series between the two teams (last year: SC won 66-63 l-15-05 at home and the Vols won 80-72 in Knoxville 2-23-05). The Vols needed overtime to win their last time in Columbia, taking a 68-67 game on Feb. 27, 2001. USC’s last win in Knoxville: Carolina won 94-60 on Jan. 23, 2002 in Odom’s first season.

Starting off with the right attitude since joining the SEC USC has swept the series five times (1992-93, 1993-94, 1995-96, 1996-97 and 2001-02).

Last time we played

USC defeated S.C. State 81-46 in its last non-conference game of the year (Jan. 3). SCSU was the 22nd team Odom held under 50 points since he came to USC five years ago.

Brandon Wallace paced the Gamecocks with his third double-double of the year, the fourth of his career, tying a career-high with 13 points and 12 rebounds. Tarence Kinsey also tied a career-high with 24 points, Bryce Sheldon scored a career-high 13 points and Stephen McDowell added a career-high five assists.

As a team, USC turned the ball over only five times – the fewest times since it turned it over five times in a 59-48 win over Yale on Dec. 30, 2003. USC also picked up 24 assists – its most since it had 25 assists in an 85-64 win over Tennessee on Jan. 17, 2004. The 10 steals were the second-most on the season since they stole the ball 15 times vs. UNCG.

Coming into the game …

UT, headed by first-year head coach Bruce Pearl, brings a 9-1 record to Columbia, defeating South Alabama 87-69 in its last outing (in Knoxville, 1-4-06). C.J. Watson became just the second Vol in school history to score 1,000 points and collect 500 assists.

UT’s marquee win this year in its non-conference play was a 95-78 trashing of then-No. 6 Texas, in Austin, on Dec. 17, 2005. The Vols moved to No. 23 the next week – its first top 25 ranking since Feb. 19, 2001 – before dropping a 89-73 game against Oklahoma State (then dropping out of the AP poll).

The Vols have four players in double figures: Chris Lofton (16.7 ppg), C.J. Watson (16.4 ppg), Major Wingate (12.1 ppg) and Andre Patterson (10.5). Bradshaw, the team’s leading rebounder, averages 6.0 rpg. Both Bradshaw and Watson average a team-leading 4.3 apg.

Us SEC Last Year

Carolina was 7-9 in the SEC in 2004-05. Then-senior Carolina Powell averaged 17.0 ppg in SEC play with another senior, Josh Gonner hitting 9.3 ppg.

Of the starting returnees, Tre’ Kelley was third on the team with 8.7 ppg, Tarence Kinsey was fourth on the team with 8.1 ppg, Rocky Trice was sixth on the team with 6.3 ppg and Renaldo Balkman was seventh at 5.4 ppg. The leading returning rebounder was Antoine Tisby with 4.1 rpg to Powell’s team-leading 6.2 rpg.

A Few Palmetto Braggin’ Rights

Shutting out the non-conference schedule, Coach Odom is 58-10 overall against all teams in the state of South Carolina — with its only losses coming to in-state rival Clemson. That total includes one game against the Gamecocks as well. The most wins come against Clemson as Odom is 22-10 against the Tigers and is 33-0 against the rest of South Carolina. His first in-state test of the season was not a prosperous one as the Gamecocks fell at Clemson 82-63 on Dec. 3. With wins over Winthrop (68-54), Wofford (73-43) and South Carolina State (81-46) – averaging 74.0 ppg with the three opponents averaging 47.6 ppg. – USC finishes at 3-1 vs. in-state teams this season.

Could finish on the career list

All told Tarence Kinsey has 805 career points and needs 195 points to hit the 1,000 mark and become the 38th Gamecock to go over the one thousand mark. Averaging 15.6 ppg this season, he would need to average 12.2 ppg in the last 16 regular season games to hit 1,000 career points.

Kinsey has hit 20+ points five times this season. In his first three seasons at USC, Kinsey played in 85 games and in those 85 games he hit the 20+ mark only twice. (23 vs. South Carolina State, 12-22-04 and 21 vs. Idaho, 11-18-03).

Tre’ Kelley is also climbing up the career points list as he has 614 career points and is averaging a career-high 11.3 ppg this season after hitting 5.1 ppg his freshman year and 8.9 ppg his sophomore year.

Brandon + Balkman = Block City

Brandon Wallace has blocked three or more shots in three games this season, tallying 23 this season. He has three or more blocks in 18 games in his career. Wallace has 113 blocked shots and currently ranks seventh in career blocked shots. He is 10 behind sixth place Tony Kitchings (123, 1999-2003) and 11 behind fifth place Ryan Stack (124, 1995-98). The career blocks leader — Danny Traylor blocked 235 from 1971-73. After Stack, he will need 36 more blocks to hit No. 4 Mike Brittain at 160 (1983-86).

Wallace blocked 55 shots last season. The 55 tied Ryan Stack who also blocked 55 in the 1997-98 season. In 2004-05 he blocked at least one shot in 25 of 33 games – including blocking three or more shots in eight games.

Not a lucky 13, but happy at 14

Going into the Temple game, USC was 13-0 in Tarence Kinsey’s four-year career when he led the Gamecocks in scoring. Kinsey scored a team-high 16 points vs. Temple, but it wasn’t enough to help Carolina overcome the Owls. The team is now 14-1 when he leads them in scoring after putting up 24 in the winning effort against S.C. State.

Kinsey’s first double-double of the season couldn’t help USC over Temple as the Owls came away with a 63-50 win over Carolina. It was Kinsey’s third double-double of his career, with the last coming on against Arkansas on Feb. 2, 2005.

22 x 50 or less

In a 17-day span USC has held three opponents under 50 (Wofford, 43; Detroit Mercy, 35; South Carolina State, 46). Under Odom, South Carolina has held 22 opponents to 50 points or less. USC is 21-1 in the games where they have held opponents to 50 or less. The only loss came against Auburn in 2003.

Starters vs. Bench

USC’s starters are averaging 52.2 ppg, with the bench averaging 18.3 ppg. USC’s opponents are getting a bit more from its bench with the starters averaging 40.2 ppg to the bench’s 19.8 ppg. USC starters average 74% of its points and its opponents starters are averaging 67% of its points.