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Jan. 6, 2006

USC hosts Tennessee on the hard courts on Sunday, Jan. 8 at 1:30 pm in the both school’s SEC openers. The game will be shown live on Jefferson Pilot television (see local listing).

On Friday, junior guard Bryce Sheldon (BS) talked about the SEC opener, his families visit from the west coast and his favorite things about Columbia.

Your family is here visiting from the West coast. They saw you score a career-high 13 points in the win over SC State the other night and now on Sunday at 1:30 pm, they will see USC play Tennessee in the SEC opener. Are you having a good time?

BS: I have a lot of my family here this week visiting from the West coast. My three younger brothers: Colby, Greg and Cameron. My older sister Kori and her husband Scott and my two nephew Dakota and my niece Hailey. My mother, Jill, and her boyfriend Doug and of course my grandmother (Jackie) is here as well.

We have gone all over Columbia to a lot of different restaurants in the Vista and other places. They love it here. They actually really like it. My mom said it was a lot more mellow than California. They loved the atmosphere at the basketball game the other day. My mom was very surprised with how big basketball was out here. They had the best times of their lives at the game the other day.

They have been here eight-nine days.

Were you nervous with your family there watching the game against South Carolina State?

BS: Not at all. The first shot I missed that went in and out, I thought to myself ‘dang, I want to make a few shots for them and to help my team win’. But as the game went on I completely forgot they were there and after the game I remembered seeing them there. I was happy I played well and that they got to see me play well.

Did you get in a bit of a shooting zone against the Bulldogs?

BS: In the second half I got a little rhythm going. Sometimes when shooters get hot they just want to shoot. When I get in that zone, I keep trying to shoot. When you feel that way, usually everything you throw up is going to go in. I guess that’s what happened a bit in the second half.

What about starting SEC play? The teams are going to be tough every night.

BS: We played some tough teams in junior college. I remember going into conference games in junior college; it’s a completely different atmosphere. Everything is different and I can only imagine at this level, playing against top teams like Tennessee and Kentucky, mentally you have to be ready. You can’t make errors and you have to play tough defense. You have to bring in a well-rounded game.

Tarence (Kinsey) and Tre’ (Kelley) both remarked today that the intensity in practice has picked up the last couple of days. Have you seen that?

BS: I definitely feel that way. This week has been great. The focus has been there. Tarence has been leading us as a senior through workouts and pushing us along. He is telling us the SEC is coming and to just be ready. I think this is the best week we’ve had.

Off the court, what’s your favorite thing to do in Columbia?

BS: Going out to dinner at different restaurants. We go to a lot of different places in the Vista. I like to go shopping at a couple malls – Columbiana and the Two Notch mall (Columbia Mall).

How do you like the sweet tea? Anything new you’ve tried here at the dinner table?

I like the sweet tea a lot. We don’t have that in California. We have raspberry sweet tea, but sweet tea definitely is an original out here. I haven’t eaten grits before I got here – cheese and grits. I tried them a few times here and I don’t like them.



Opening its SEC schedule this weekend, the USC men’s basketball team will host Tennessee in a Jefferson-Pilot televised game on Sunday, Jan. 8 at 1:30 pm at the Colonial Center.

The game was originally scheduled to be played at 4 pm, but the game time switch was announced Monday by Jefferson-Pilot. JP announced the time change on Monday after the NFL released its Jan. 8 play-off schedule for its affiliates and checking further with its own affiliates who will broadcast the UT-USC game.

Tennessee leads the all-time series 23-21 with the home team winning the last seven games.