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Feb. 13, 2006

Game 24 o Alabama at South Carolina oFeb. 14, 2006 o Colonial Center (18,000) o Columbia, S.C. Good Seats Still Remain for Alabama and Kentucky games

Tipoff: 7:02 pm (EST)
TV: ESPN (Jimmy Dykes, Brad Nessler, Heather Cox)
Radio: Gamecock Radio Network
Sirius radio: Channel No. 147
Series Record: Alabama leads 18-9
In Columbia: USC leads 6-5
In Tuscaloosa: UA leads 9-1
Neutral site: UA leads 4-2
Last Meeting: No. 16 Alabama defeated USC 87-68 in Tuscaloosa, Ala., on Feb. 19, 2005

South Carolina Information
Coach: Dave Odom (Guilford, 1965)
USC Record:90-65 (5th year)
Overall Record:368-239 (20th year)
Record vs. UA: 3-6 (3-1 H, 0-3 A, 0-2 N)

Alabama Information
Coach: Mark Gottfried (Alabama, 1993)
UA Record: 133-82 (8th year)
Overall Record: 224-115 (11th year)
Record vs. USC: 6-3

Probable Starters for the Alabama game (starters from previous game)
POS NO South Carolina Gamecocks (13-10, 4-6) PPG RPG APG
F #23 Dwayne Day (6-6, 184, So., Mount Vernon, Ga.) 6.2 2.5 0.5
F #34 Renaldo Balkman (6-10, 198, Jr., Jackson, S.C.) 9.6 5.9 2.3
C #33 Brandon Wallace (6-8, 237, Sr., Kansas City, Kan.) 7.2 6.1 2.4
G #01 Tre’ Kelley (6-1, 183, Jr., Washington, D.C.) 12.0 2.7 4.1
G #21 Tarence Kinsey (6-6, 189, Sr., Tampa, Fla.) 15.2 4.7 2.1
Alabama Crimson Tide (14-8, 7-3 SEC)
F #21 Evan Brock (6-9, 210, Sr., Roswell, Ga.) 3.9 2.3
F #35 Richard Hendrix (6-8, 265, Fr., Athens, Ala.) 9.8 7.6
G #33 Jermareo Davidson (6-10, 220, Jr., Atlanta, Ga.) 14.0 9.0
G #04 Brandon Hollinger (5-11, 170, Fr., Mobile, Ala.) 2.3 1.2
G #22 Ronald Steele (6-3, 185, So., Birmingham, Ala.) 13.1 3.4

Gamecocks Host ‘Bama on ESPN’s Valentine’s Day coverage;
Home Sweet Home! USC, 13-10 and 4-6 in the SEC, will play its second straight SEC game at the Colonial Center for the first time this season when it hosts Alabama, 14-8 and 7-3 in the SEC, at 7 pm on ESPN on Valentine’s Day (Tues., Feb. 14). The last time USC played on Valentine’s Day, Feb. 14, 2004, USC defeated Vanderbilt 82-75 (see note on page 3). Playing an SEC high-six games on the road thus far this season, USC will host Alabama on Tuesday before Kentucky comes calling on Sat., Feb. 18 (1:30 pm, CBS) as part of the SEC’s Throwback Weekend celebration and USC’s Player Reunion Weekend. The Alabama game will be nationally televised on ESPN with Brad Nessler, Jimmy Dykes and Heather Cox (sideline reporter) combining to make the call. Dykes is familiar with the Gamecock basketball team, having worked all three Great Alaska Shootout games on ESPN2 in November. USC is 6-1 on ESPN/ESPN2 the past two years with its only blemish a 92-89 overtime loss to Marquette in the finals of the Great Alaska Shootout (11/26/05). The game will be carried on the Gamecock Radio Network with Mike Morgan (play-by-play) and Casey Manning (color analyst). The game can also be heard via the internet at and on Sirius radio channel 147.

Coming Off
With its 83-61 win over Mississippi State on Feb. 11, the Gamecocks posted their most lopsided SEC win since a 23-point win at Vanderbilt on Feb. 16, 2002. USC was led by Tre’ Kelley’s 22 points and seven assists. Brandon Wallace (11 PT) and Tarence Kinsey (14 PT) both picked up seven rebounds each. USC shot 54.8% to MSU’s 43.6%. The Gamecocks out-battled the SEC’s second-best rebounding team 34-30. Alabama, in defeating Ole Miss 64-50 on Saturday, has won back-to-back games at Mississippi for the first time since Mark Gottfried became coach eight years ago. The Tide were paced by the 13 points of Jemario Davidson. Ronald Steele had 11 points, and Jean Felix and Richard Hendrix added 10 apiece for the Crimson Tide, who led by as many as 15 in avenging an earlier loss to the Rebels. Dwayne Curtis had 13 points to lead the slumping Rebels, who have followed their seven-game winning streak with seven consecutive losses.

Excuse them if they aren’t talking basketball on Tuesday night when they meet at half-court prior to the game. In Kuwait for Operation Hardwood late last summer, Coach Odom and Alabama’s Coach Gottfried both made the trip over to the Middle East for Operation Hardwood as part of a group who coached a three-day tournament with US servicemen and women. Odom coached Camp Navistar, with his team making it to the semi-finals. One of the highlights included a first round win over Bobby Cremins’ team on a last second basket. Odom’s team included 11 men and one woman with 10 of the man hailing from the state of South Carolina. In addition to coaching Camp Navistar, Odom and the other coaches signed autographs, held a clinching for Kuwait children and toured the base. Besides Odom and Gottfried, other coaches included Tom Izzo (Michigan State), Bobby Lutz (Charlotte), Bobby Cremins (former Georgia Tech coach), Jay Bilas (former Duke player, ESPN analyst), Kelvin Sampson (Oklahoma) and Mike Jarvis (George Washington). “Let me tell you something .. you ride a camel, drive a tank and coach basketball all in the same day, you have had one heck of a day,” said Odom.

Gamecock Love is in the air the last 10 years
Since 1996, Carolina is 3-1 on Valentine’s Day, with the lone loss coming at Alabama on Feb. 14, 2001. Playing around Valentine’s Day has also been good to the Gamecocks. If Carolina wasn’t scheduled to play on Valentines Day, USC’s first game right after it sure has been good as well. Carolina is 8-2 when they play on or when their first game falls after Feb. 14th. Last season’s victory was a huge one as Carolina upset No. 3 Kentucky 73-61 in Columbia on Feb. 15th. USC has won the last four games that was played on that day or if no game was scheduled on the 14th, the first game after the 14th. The last three games around Feb. 14th have been played in Columbia. USC is 6-0 since 1996 around Valentines Day in Columbia. The two losses were both on the road.

Games On Feb. 14th
(if USC was not scheduled, the first game after the 14th Since 1996)
Feb. 14, 2006 vs. Alabama (Columbia)
Feb. 15, 2005 W 73-61 vs. #3 Kentucky (Columbia)
Feb. 14, 2004 W 82-75 vs. Vanderbilt (Columbia)
Feb. 15, 2003 W 72-65 vs. Arkansas (Columbia)
Feb. 16, 2002 W 66-43 vs. Vanderbilt (Nashville)
Feb. 14, 2001 L 60-55 vs. Alabama (Tuscaloosa)
Feb. 16, 2000 W 67-66 vs. Mississippi State (Columbia)
Feb. 17, 1999 L 60-56 vs. LSU (Baton Rouge)
Feb. 14, 1998 W 74-63 vs. Mississippi State (Columbia)
Feb. 15, 1997 W 97-83 vs. Cincinnati (Cincinnati)
Feb. 14, 1996 W 57-45 vs. Georgia Southern (Columbia)

Was one
Matt Parke, Alabama’s Director of Basketball Operations, was a USC graduate assistant for Coach Odom for two seasons before departing for Tuscaloosa last summer. Parke aided the Gamecocks in making the 2004 NCAA Tournament and winning the 2005 NIT title. USC assistant coach Barry Sanderson is no stranger to Tide fans. A graduate of Central High School in Tuscaloosa, he graduated from Alabama in 1990 after working as a student coach for four seasons. Sanderson’s father Wimp coached at Alabama for 12 seasons, winning the SEC in 1987 and the SEC Tournament in 1987, 1989, 19901 and 1991. They also advanced to the Sweet 16 four straight years.

Doing it
In the 13 wins this season, Tre’ Kelley is averaging 12.5 points per game while in the 10 losses he is averaging 11.4 a game. It’s only a point difference, but the difference is in the field goal percentage and in the assists. In the 13 wins, Kelley has combined to make 52 of his 107 shots (49% from the field) while he has made 41 of 103 shots (40% from the field) in the 10 losses. He has dished out 61 assists in the 13 wins compared to 33 in the 10 losses. In the last two games, Kelley has 39 points, 14 assists and has made 8 of his 12 three point attempts. As a team, Carolina is averaging five more assists a game in their victories than in losses. (16 assist per game in a win compared to 11 assists per game in a loss)

Home at last, USC has one win under its belt with the 83-61 win over MSU on Feb. 11. USC will host Alabama (Feb. 14, ESPN), Kentucky (Feb. 18, CBS), Vanderbilt (Feb. 25, JP) and LSU (Feb. 28, ESPN). The four teams who march into the Colonial Center in February, entering Tuesday’s game, are 14-16 on the road this season, including 10-10 in SEC play. The four also combine for a 2-6 record in the Colonial Center. Alabama, Vanderbilt and LSU will come to Columbia looking for first wins in the Colonial Center. USC will travel to Georgia on Feb. 23 for a rematch on ESPN after the Bulldogs won an overtime heartbreaker on a last second shot by Levi Stukes. USC will close out the regular season at Auburn on March 4. The league will travel to Nashville for the SEC Tournament the next weekend (March 9-12).

Checked them all off
You can check Florida off the list, twice actually. And now check Mississippi State off, too. Dave Odom, who came to Carolina five years ago, has now defeated every SEC team at least once. He defeated both UF and MSU while at Wake Forest. After 12 years at Wake, he defeated every then-ACC team at least eight times a piece.

Finally finished
From Jan. 11 to Feb. 11, USC played half of its SEC schedule. Of those eight games, six were on the road, including the three straight after the home win over UF on Jan. 25. USC’s 17 days between home games (Jan. 25 – Feb. 11) was the longest home lapse since USC joined the SEC 15 years ago. In fact in conference play its the longest home lapse since 1990 when USC was still playing in the then-Metro Conference. USC went Jan. 27 (Memphis State) to Feb. 17 (Southern Miss) without a home conference game, playing four conference road games (at Tulane, Southern Miss, Louisville and Cincinnati) and two non-conference games (at Clemson and The Citadel). USC did play Augusta College on Jan. 29 at home that year. USC played at UT on Jan. 28, at Arkansas on Feb. 4 and at Florida on Feb. 8. The trio combined for a 37-1 home record going into the games on Feb. 8, including a 12-1 record in SEC play. The only loss in the trio was a 58-63 loss by Arkansas to first place LSU.

50 plus two times straight
USC has shot 50% or better in its last two games, holding its opponents to under 50%. It is the first time the Gamecocks have shot 50% plus in two straight games since 50% against SC State (1/3/06) and then 51.1% vs. Tennessee (1/8/06). USC has shot 50% or better nine times this season, posting a 6-3 record. When USC’s opponents shoot 50%+, USC is 0-4 this season. USC shot 54.6% in the win over MSU as the Bulldogs managed to shoot just 43.6%, including 22.2% from beyond the arch (4-18). USC shot better than 50% in Gainesville, ringing up 53% of its shots to the Gators own 46%. USC shot 38.5% from the floor Feb. 4 against the Razorbacks. It was only the third game this season that the Gamecock shot below 40% as a team – all resulting in losses. USC shot 29.6% from the field in the first half in Fayetteville. It was its lowest first half field goal percentage since it shot 23.1% vs. Clemson on Dec. 4, 2004, but the Gamecocks followed up in the second half with a 50% performance vs. the Tigers and hit 48% in the second half vs. Arkansas.

Don’t Blame us if we savor this for a bit
South Carolina travelled to Gainesville Feb. 8 looking to add to the victory column after its wins in football (30-22) and basketball (68-62) already this year. The No. 6/7 Gators entered the game riding high after their 95-80 ESPN-televised win over Kentucky on Feb. 4. Looking for their 21st consecutive win at home with the nation’s second longest home winning streak, they were hoping to notch a school-record 11th straight SEC home win. USC was finishing its three-game sweep through Tennessee, Arkansas and Florida, so far tallying an 0-2 record and losing by an average of 15 ppg. Luckily for USC the game wasn’t played on paper either. Believing in itself, USC rallied from five down at the 9:02 mark in the second half to win 71-67. Tre’ Kelley paced the Gamecock charge with 17 points and seven assists. Also in double figures: Tarence Kinsey (16) and Bryce Sheldon, hitting a career-high 14 points (4-6 from 3 PT). It’s the schools first series sweep of the Gators since 1998. In Carolina’s 68-62 win over then-No. 4 Florida on Jan. 25, the Gators under performed in all but three statistical categories (free throw %, opponent free throw %, opponent 3-point %). Wednesday’s win in Gainesville wasn’t much different as the Gators under performed in all but five of the 21 statistical categories. In its two wins USC has held the Gators almost 18 points under their season average. Adding insult to injury, with Palmetto State natives leading the way, the South Carolina women’s basketball team picked up a big 81-63 win over Florida Sunday at the O’Connell Center, behind Melanie Johnson’s 27 point, 10 rebound performance.

Looking forward to it
USC fans will be able to welcome back former Gamecock basketball players in town for the USC Basketball Reunion Weekend on Sat., Feb. 18 prior to the Kentucky game. The gathering will take place on the atrium (open area above the ticket office) at the Colonial Center from 12:30 – 1 pm. A number of players from several decades are expected back for the reunion with one of the highlights being a special halftime recognition ceremony. See the USC website ( for a full list of former players. In addition, USC will honor Zam Frederick at the LSU game and the 2006 Senior class of Tarence Kinsey, Rocky Trice and Antoine Tisby at the Vanderbilt game. Frederick will sign autograph photos provided at half time in the atrium at the LSU game. It is the 25th anniversary of Frederick winning the NCAA Division I scoring title when he scored 28.9 ppg during the 1980-81 season. A co-captain of the 1981 team that finished 17-10, Frederick was named to the Citizens Savings All-America team. The native of St. Matthews, S.C., Frederick scored 1,383 points in his career and his is currently No. 14th on the all-time points scored list. His 781 points his senior year are second only to Grady Wallace’s 906 points he scored in 1957.

Getting it done BEYOND
“Every time we were getting ready to blow it open, they made a 3,” said UF Coach Billy Donovan on USC’s performance against the Gators on Feb. 8 in Gainesville. He might just have something there. Playing to its strengths, USC is scoring on the perimeter this season unlike year’s past. The Gamecocks have hit 21 of their last 44 three point shots. (48%). Carolina has hit at least six 3-pointers in 17 of its 23 games this season as compared to hitting six+ in just 13 of 33 games last year. In addition, USC has hit 10+ in six of those games this season, including the 11-23 performance in the win over MSU and the 10-21 performance in the win over No. 6 Florida and putting up a 4-2 record in those games. When Carolina shoots 40% or better from behind the arc this season they are 8-3. The three losses were against Marquette (92-89), UT (76-69), UK (80-78). USC leading scoring Tarence Kinsey is averaging a career-high 43% beyond the arc this season (46-106) as compared to last year’s leading scorer Carlos Powell who knocked down just six threes in 33 games, attempted 32 (19%). In fact Kinsey, Tre’ Kelley, Brandon Wallace, Stephen McDowell and Dwayne Day have already either topped or tied last year’s totals and Rocky Trice is one off his 14 of last year. Wallace has improved quite a bit, hitting 12 of 43 attempts (29%) this season after hitting 9-51 (18%) last season in 33 games.

Looking down at 1,000
Tarence Kinsey’s 350 points this season already surpassed the points he scored in his sophomore (273) and junior years (286). He scored just 43 points his freshman season. Kinsey has hit 20+ points six times this season, including a 21 point performance at UK where he was a perfect 4-4 from the free throw line. 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). Kinsey has racked up 952 career points and needs 48 points to hit the 1,000 mark and become the 38th Gamecock to go over the 1,000 mark. Averaging 15.2 ppg this season, he would need to average 8.0 ppg in the six regular season games to hit 1,000. Looking down the road, Tre’ Kelley has 732 career points and is averaging a career-high 12.0 ppg this season after hitting 5.1 ppg his freshman year and 8.9 ppg his sophomore year. Kelley has a real shot to 1000 with six regular season games left this season and figuring about 30 games next season – Kelley would need to average 7.4 ppg to accomplish that feat (not including SEC Tournament or postseason play).

On Guard
Preparing to slam one in the last minute of the UF game UF’s 6-11 Joakim Noah was stripped by USC’s 6-1 Tre’ Kelley. “I didn’t see him,” Noah said. “I’ll be thinking about that for a long time,” Kelley has been on a tear lately averaging 15.0 ppg and 5.7 apg in the last seven games, including 19.5 ppg and 7.0 apg in the last two. Kelley averages a team-high 4.1 apg, including 5.0 apg in SEC play (good for second on the SEC list). Last year Kelley averaged 3.6 apg in overall play, but just 3.3 apg in SEC play. He averaged 2 APG his freshman campaign, including 2.2 apg in SEC contests. That season he played behind captain Mike Boynton, Jr. who averaged 3.4 apg, including 3.6 apg in SEC play. He has 14 of 23 games with 4+ assists per game. In fact, in the last 11 games he has only gone under four assists once and that was when he scored 29 points in the OT win at Vandy. He has hit his season high of eight twice this year: in a 68-54 win over Winthrop and a 68-62 win over then-No. 4 Florida. His career high is nine assists in the win over UNLV in the second round of last year’s NIT run to the title.

Close Calls
South Carolina has had four games this season decided by three points or less including three in a row – Georgia (61-64), Vanderbilt (66-64) and Kentucky (78-80). All three games decided by three or less came down to the game’s final seconds: UGA’s Stukes made game winner with 1 second on the clock in OT; Tre’ Kelley laid up the game winner at Vandy with 5 seconds left in OT and UK’s Rajon Rondo made a three-pointer with 1.4 seconds left on the clock. Three of the four games that were decided by three points or less went to OT. Each of USC’s first six SEC games were decided by seven points or less and seven of its nine games were decided by the same tally. The other two losses (at Tennessee and Arkansas) USC fell by 16 points and 14 points, respectively.

Games Decided by No. of times Record
3 or less 4 (1-3)
5 or less 3 (2-1)
10 or less 4 (1-3)
11 or more 10 (8-2)

USC’s three-game road swing took the Gamecocks almost 3,700 miles and three states. The games were viewed by more than 50,700 pairs of eyes USC played in from near-capacity crowds at each venue (91% capacity). USC played was viewed by 20,068 (UT holds 24,535), 18,286 (UA holds 19,200) and 12,381 (UF holds 12,000). Playing on the road the last five of seven games, USC’s opponents averaged 17,318 fans for the Carolina match-up. The largest crowd was the 23,420 Wildcats fans in Lexington. Prior to that four-game away schedule, USC played in front of an average of 5,555 fans on the road (five games). The largest crowd was the 8,400 fans at Clemson.

You may have read this before
Individually Carolina continues to be led by Tampa’s own Tarence Kinsey, who is averaging a team-leading 15.2 ppg. For stats geeks, Kinsey leads the Gamecocks in scoring in just about every way you can figure it: SEC games (14.7 ppg), wins (16.2 ppg), losses (14.1 ppg), home (15.4 ppg), away (13.9 ppg) and neutral (21.0 ppg). Kinsey is second with 33.4 mpg. Tre’ Kelley is second with 11.5 ppg and leads the team with 34.5 mpg and 4.0 apg. Renaldo Balkman’s third on the team with 9.8 ppg and 2.3 apg. He leads the team with 1.5 spg and is tied for the team lead with 6.0 rpg. He leads the team with 15 dunks Brandon Wallace is tied for the team lead with Balkman with 6.0 rpg. Wallace leads the team with 1.5 bpg, and is second with 2.4 apg. He is fourth on the team with 7.0 ppg. His three double-doubles this season top Balkman and Kinsey’s two each.

Keepin’ it going
Hitting 11 3’s vs. Mississippi State – USC extended its steak to 158 consecutive games with a three-point basket. Not bad, but the streak had reached 216 straight games with USC?having a trey in every game since Jan. 7, 1995 vs. Kentucky. ?The streak ended as Carolina went 0-19 from long range in the regular season finale vs. MSU in 2001.