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March 14, 2006

Game 34 o W. Kentucky at South Carolina o March 15, 2006 o Colonial Center (18,000) o Columbia, S.C.

Tipoff: 7:06 pm (EST)
TV: CSS (Matt Stewart, Sonny Smith)
Radio: Gamecock Radio Network
Series Record: USC leads 3-1
In Columbia: USC leads 1-0
In Bowling Green: WKU leads 1-0
Neutral site: USC leads 2-0
Last Meeting: Western Kentucky won 73-69 in Bowling Green on Nov. 28, 1980

Probable Starters for the Western Kentucky game (from previous game)

South Carolina Gamecocks (18-15, 6-10 SEC) PPG RPG APG
F #14 Antoine Tisby (6-8, 237, Sr., Kansas City, Kan.) 5.3 2.8 0.7*
F #21 Tarence Kinsey (6-6, 189, Sr., Tampa, Fla.) 15.3 4.6 2.2
C #33 Brandon Wallace (6-10, 198, Jr., Jackson, S.C.) 7.2 6.0 2.2
G #01 Tre’ Kelley (6-1, 183, Jr., Washington, D.C.) 12.0 2.9 4.3
G #10 Rocky Trice (6-3, 163, Sr., Swainsboro, Ga.) 6.9 3.0 1.5
W. Kentucky Hilltoppers (23-7, 12-2 SBC East) PPG RPG
C #15 Elgrace Wilborn (6-8, 245, Sr., Springfield, Ohio) 8.5 5.7
G #5 Ty Rogers (6-3, 185, So., Eddyville, Ky.) 7.1 1.7
G #10 Anthony Winchester (6-4, 205, Sr., Austin, Ind.) 18.5 5.3
G #22 Benson Callier (6-6, 205, Jr., St. Petersburg, Fla.) 9.0 3.9
G #32 Courtney Lee (6-5, 195, So., Indianapolis, Ind.) 17.4 6.3
* – Blocks per game

SEC Tournament Runner-up South Carolina to play Hilltoppers in Both Coaches’ First Meeting in NIT First Round

USC, 18-15 and 6-10 in the SEC, will work to defend its 2005 NIT title by hosting Western Kentucky, 23-7 and 12-2 in the SBC, on Wed., March 15, at 7 pm in the NIT’s first round. Both teams are coming off conference tournament losses in the championship game. South Carolina lost 49-47 to No. 14 Florida in the SEC final, while the Hilltoppers dropped a 95-70 Sun Belt title game to South Alabama.

The game will be carried on CSS television with Matt Stewart and Sonny Smith making the call. The WKU game can be heard on the Gamecock Radio Network with Mike Morgan (play-by-play) and Casey Manning (color analyst). The MSU game can also be heard via the internet at

The Opponent

Western Kentucky comes in with a 23-7 record, winning the regular season Sun Belt Conference title with a 12-2 record. The Hilltoppers are led by Sun Belt Conference Player of the Year Anthony Winchester who comes in averaging 18.5 ppg and 5.3 rpg. Courtney Lee is the other WKU player in double figures with 17.4 ppg and he leads the teams with 6.3 rpg.

Darrin Horn took over for Western Kentucky when Dennis Felton went to Georgia three years ago. Horn is 60-29 in his three year tenure with his alma mater.

Carolina is 3-1 all-time against Western Kentucky including a 1-0 record in Columbia. The first meeting between the two teams came on Dec. 27, 1963 in Nashville, Tenn. at the Vanderbilt Invitational Tournament. The Gamecocks claimed the victory 75-60. The four meetings are listed below.

Dec. 27, 1963 W 75-60 Nashville, Tenn.
Dec. 30, 1970 W 86-84 Santa Clara, Cal.
Feb. 23, 1980 W 73-65 (2 OT) Columbia, S.C.
Nov. 28, 1980 L 73-69 Bowling Green, Ky.

Defending Champs

The Gamecocks are making their 10th appearance in the NIT and second consecutive. Last season, USC took home the trophy after defeating five teams: Miami, UNLV, Georgetown, Maryland and St. Joe’s. The Gamecocks are seeking their second consecutive NIT trophy; the only other team to ever win back-to-back post-season NIT titles is St. John’s in 1943 and 1944.

The Gamecocks are 16-8 overall in the NIT and are 9-1 under head coach Dave Odom. USC made it to Madison Square Garden in New York in 1969, 1975, 2002 and 2005. Carolina played in the championship in 2002 and in 2005. USC took home the championship in 2005 while finishing in second in 2002 to Memphis.

Gamecock Appearances in the NIT
1969, 1975, 1978, 1983, 1991, 1996, 2001, 2002, 2005, 2006

Odom, Post Season

Coach Odom has guided his teams to post-season bids in 15 of his 20 seasons as a head coach. This will be his sixth trip to the NIT. He has won two NIT championships with one coming at Wake (2000) and the other at USC (2005).

All-time NIT Appearances Under Odom
1998, 1999, 2000, 2002, 2005, 2006

More Numbers

Carolina recorded a 1-3 record against teams who made the field of 40:

Vanderbilt 1-1
Temple 0-1
Clemson 0-1

Carolina recorded a 7-9 record against teams who made the field of 65 in the NCAA Tournament this year:

Florida 2-1
Alabama 1-0
Winthrop 1-0
Monmouth 1-0
Kentucky 1-2
Tennessee 1-2
LSU 0-1
Arkansas 0-1
Pittsburgh 0-1
Marquette 0-1

to 20

The Gamecocks are seeking 20 wins for the third consecutive season. Carolina enters the 2006 NIT with 18 wins and if they do reach 20 it would be the first time since the Frank McGuire era that a team has won 20 three straight years. Under McGuire, USC posted 20+ victories in six consecutive seasons. (1969-1974).

Leader of the Pack

Tarence Kinsey heads up the Gamecock cause with 15.3 ppg. Kinsey leads USC in scoring in every way you figure it: SEC games (15.4 ppg), wins (15.8 ppg), losses (14.7 ppg), home (15.3 ppg), away (14.8 ppg) and neutral (16.2 ppg). Kinsey also leads the team in 3pt % (39.3%) and free throw % (85.8%). He is second in MPG (34.5) and steals (1.4) and third in assists (2.2). He has hit at least one three in 28 games this season.

Tre’ Kelley is second with 12.0 ppg and leads the team with 4.3 apg and 34.7 mpg. Brandon Wallace leads the team with 1.6 bpg. He is second with 5.9 rpg, 2.2 apg and fourth with 7.2 ppg. Wallace has 15 blocks in the last six games. His four double-doubles matach the same number as Renaldo Balkman, but top Kinsey’s two. Balkman’s third on the team with 9.8 ppg and 2.0 apg. He leads the team with 1.6 spg and 6.1 rpg.

They turn it over

The Carolina defense has stepped up in the past five games by forcing 82 turnovers. Carolina has forced its last five opponents to turn the ball an average of more than 16 times a game. In the same five games, USC has turned the ball over 53 times at 10.6 topg – including the four TO in the Mississippi State game. The Gamecocks are 4-1 in their last five games.

Opponent Opponent TO
Auburn 13
Mississippi State 17
Tennessee 21
Kentucky 13
Florida 18

Close ones

This season, Carolina has eight games decided by three points or less. Seven of the eight games were against teams from the SEC. The only non-conference game was against Marquette. Six of the eight games were against teams who made either the NIT or the NCAA Tournament.

NCAA: Marquette, Kentucky, LSU, Florida
NIT: Vanderbilt (2x)
Not participating in post-season play: Georgia (2x)

USC has had 20 games decided by seven points or less, posting a 8-12 record – including 11 of those in SEC play (USC is 3-7 in those games). USC has had nine games this season decided by three points or less, posting a 2-7 record. Three of the eight games that were decided by three points or less went to OT.

Games Decided by No. of times Record
3 or less 9 (2-7)
5 or less 4 (4-0)
7 or less 7 (2-5)
10 or more 13 (10-3)

Each of USC’s first six SEC games were decided by seven points or less and 11 SEC games were decided by the same tally. USC has averaged six games decided by seven points or less since they joined the SEC.

SEC All-Tourney

South Carolina’s Tre’ Kelley and Renaldo Balkman were both named to the SEC All-Tournament team after falling 47-49 to Florida in the SEC Championship game on Sunday.

Kelley averaged 15.3 ppg and 4.3 apg in the four game stretch. Balkman averaged 12.0 ppg, 7.3 rpg and 2.5 spg.

A Few Things

* Carolina is 19-13 under Coach Odom in the month of March. Since joining the league in 1991-92, SC is now 35-34 in March. The win at Auburn was Odom’s 370th win as a head coach and he needs five more wins to hit 100 wins at USC.

* USC made the semi-finals for the third time in five years with Odom, advancing to its first final under Odom and second overall in the SEC (1998). Prior to defeating UK 65-61 on Friday in the semis, they lost 57-65 to Alabama in 2002 and 63-78 in 2004 to Kentucky, but neither team had played on the first day as Kentucky did this year.

* The eight assists by Tre’ Kelley in the Kentucky game are the most by a Gamecock in a SEC Tournament game. The previous high was six by Larry Davis (vs. LSU on 3/7/96), Chuck Eidson (vs. Alabama (3/9/00), and Aaron Lucas (vs. Tennessee, 3/10/00). Carolina won all four of those SEC Tournament games.

* USC turned the ball over just 37 times in the SEC Tournament (9.2 topg) – including seven times vs. Kentucky on Saturday. USC turned the ball over just four times in its win over MSU – the fewest turnovers since USC turned it over just four times in a 75-77 loss to UF on Jan. 18, 2003. USC’s SEC Tournament opponents turned the ball over 51 times (17 topg). UT’s 21 TO in its loss to USC on March 10 were just one below a season-high for opponents with UNCG’s 22 TO on Nov. 30 being the worst for an opponent. MSU turned it over 17 times and UK 13 times.

* Tarence Kinsey has scored 20+ points nine times this season and a career best 24 points three times. Prior to this season, in 85 games he had only scored 20+ points twice. * In addition to Kinsey, Tre’ Kelley has hit 20+ four times this season – including 25 in the win over No. 14 Tennessee – and Renaldo Balkman has hit it once.

* USC won three SEC road games this season (at Vandy, Florida, Auburn), matching the same total of 2004 (at Auburn, Vandy, Georgia). The last time USC won four SEC road games: 1998 (at Georgia, Auburn, Vanderbilt and Florida).

* Carolina is 11-5 this season when Bryce Sheldon hits a three-pointer in a game. When he hits three or more three’s in a game, Carolina is 4-1 on the season. When he scores 10 or more in a game, the Gamecocks are 3-0.

Palacios Out

Junior Keving Palacios, who had come off the bench as of late to play some valuable minutes, suffered a broken bone in his left foot during the SEC Championship title game vs. Florida. He will have surgery on Friday and will not play the rest of the season.

1100 Plus

Tarence Kinsey has tallied 1,107 career points – hitting his 1000th career point as the 38th player to do so with a free throw in the second half vs. Vandy (18:45). He is No. 28 currently and will move to No. 27 if he scores two points (1108, Jamel Bradley, 1998-2002).

Kinsey’s 505 points this season have already surpassed the points he scored in his sophomore (273) and junior years (286). He scored just 43 points in an injury riddled freshman season. Kinsey has hit 20+ points nine times this season, including three 21 point performances at Kentucky, vs. UK and vs. No. 21 LSU. In his first three seasons at USC, Kinsey played in 85 games and he had hit the 20+ mark only twice. (23 vs. S.C. State, 12-22-04 and 21 vs. Idaho, 11-18-03).

His 122 career three-pointers put him at No. 7 all-times. With three more 3 pointers he will catch Melvin Watson (125, 1995-98). Not bad for a guy who went 1 of 14 from beyond the arc his freshman year, scoring 43 points while he suffered from a number of injuries.

His 336 three-point attempts put him at No. 9 all-time. He needs 11 (347) to reach No. 8 Antonio Grant (1997-2001).

He is at No. 10 with 129 career steals. he needs seven to hit No. 9 Jo Jo English (136, 1989-92)

If the season ended today, he would finish No. 6 on the all-time career three-point % list (36.3%). He would finish at No. 5 on the free throw % list for a single season with a 85.8%.

20 or less, 50 or less

USC held Mississippi State to 19 points in the second half. USC has held five opponents this season to 20 points or less in a half (games in italics were wins).

Opponent Points Half
Georgia 20 1st half
Pittsburgh 20 1st half
Detroit-Mercy 20 2nd half
Mississippi State 19 2nd half
Detroit-Mercy 15 1st half
Wofford 15 1st half

Mississippi State scored the fewest points (44) an SEC opponent has scored in the SEC Tournament vs. the Gamecocks. The previous low was 53 by Mississippi on 3/10/05. Florida scored 49 and it marked the sixth time this season (4-2) the Carolina accomplished that feat and the 24th time under Head Coach Dave Odom.. He holds a 21-3 record in those 24 games. The only losses came at Georgia Feb. 23, Florida on March 12 and against Auburn in 2003.

Going all the way back to the Frank McGuire era, which started in 1964, USC has held 76 opponents to 50 points or less.

Opponents under 50 points vs. USC under Odom 2005-06: Florida, Mississippi State, Georgia, SC State, Detroit-Mercy, Wofford 2004-05: Temple 2003-04: Georgia, Yale, SC State, Charleston Southern, The Citadel, Campbell, Navy 2002-03: Ole Miss, The Citadel, Temple 2001-02: Ball State, Auburn, Vanderbilt, Charleston Southern, SC State, Providence, Wofford

Moving up

Tre’ Kelley has 863 career points and has a real shot at being the 39th player to hit 1,000 career points his senior year. He is averaging a career-high 12.0 ppg this season after scoring 5.1 ppg his freshman year and 8.9 ppg last year.

He has or also could make the following single season top 10 lists this year as well:

1. 32 games started – needs to start 1 game to be No. 4
(at 33 he would be tied at No. 4 with 2 players)
2. 60 3 PT Made – needs 2 to move to No. 7
(at 60 he is No. 8)
3. 163 3 PT ATT – needs 17 to move to No. 6 (Carey Rich)
(at 163 is No. 7)
4. 143 assists needs 2 to move to No. 5 with two other players (at 143 is No. 7)
In addition, he could make or has made the top 10 of the following career lists in the future:
1. 100 games played- needs 20 games to enter top 10
2. 105 3 PT made – needs 4 to enter top 10
3. 317 3 PT ATT – No. 10 – needs 16 to hit No. 9
4. 330 AST needs 10 to enter top 10


USC is 7-6 following a loss. USC was 8-3 in 2004-05 and 6-4 in 2003-04.

USC appeared on television at 22 times during the regular season and 26 times with play in the SEC Tournament, including at eight games on national television (6 ESPN/ESPN2, 2 CBS) and one tape delay (SUN Sports). The 22 appearances were the most regular-season television appearances ever for the Gamecocks. USC is 12-14 on TV this season. See complete schedule on page one.

Start me up

Tarence Kinsey ended last year’s season with a three-pointer in the NIT final win over St. Joe’s. Not to be outdone, he started this season’s scoring with a three in both the USC-Aiken (exhibition) and Western Carolina (season opener) — the Gamecocks first points of the season.