Skip to main content
Partner logo
Mobile Icon Link Mobile Icon Link Mobile Icon Link Gamecocks+

March 20, 2006

USC will travel to Tallahassee to play Florida State on ESPN on Tuesday, March 21 at 7 p.m. in the second round of the NIT. USC head coach Dave Odom met with the media Monday afternoon to talk about the game.

Odom announced three players will not travel to Tallahassee. Osumane Konate (sprained ankle) and Keving Palacios (broken bone in left foot, recovering from surgery on March 18) are injured and will not play. Antoine Tisby will not travel due to a violation of team policy.

Odom’s Opening Statement: “Given the number of games – (playing) five games in seven days – it seems like it’s been a year since we played. It will be good to get back to the court tomorrow night against a really, really good Florida State team.

“Looking at Florida State, I look to see what our task is. They are most like Arkansas in the SEC. You have similar teams. If those two played each other you would have a great, athletic battle. They are disappointed they weren’t in the NCAA and they did the most important thing and got through their first round game and host us tomorrow night.

“We took Thursday off and then did conditioning on Friday afternoon. We practiced Saturday and Sunday in the afternoon. Then we practiced at 6 a.m. this morning – it might not have been the most popular time to practice, but it was the best time because we have to travel today.

“(Our team was) a group of battlers against Western Kentucky. They geared up their defense and played well offensively enough to get the win. Florida State is powerful inside. They have my attention for sure. We will have to “bob and weave” a bit, make them chase us a bit, use our timeouts and pass and catch so it works in our favor. We are down in numbers. When you look at our roster, we are void of any post reserves and I am very disappointed with that for sure. We have got to be very smart in how we play defense and that we don’t get into foul trouble.

“Right now we have only eight players. But when you look at the team we will start -and that’s the team we started the year with – I am not worried about that at all. Our starters will do very well and we won’t have the ability to rest them and go in with brute force. They have four guys playing in the post and we really have two with Tarence (Kinsey) moving over. They range from 6’7″ to 250-260 and we range from 6’7” to 205. But when you get to this time of the year we feel like we can do some effective things. I truly believe we can do that. It’s not like we didn’t know (some players would not be available), except for Osumane. He went down hard yesterday and really sprained his ankle. He was going to get some time in this game.

Q: Will Antoine Tisby be back with the team?

Odom: I would not think that Antoine would be back with us. My strongest hope is that he continues to plug in academically and take advantage of the academic services we have available. We will continue to support him and be there for him. He has some work to do this semester, but he is more than capable of getting to the finish line in May and graduating in the summer. I am very disappointed and I wanted badly for him and our team to be at full strength as we go into the mid-part of this tournament, particularly off of the game he just had and hoping that would continue.

Q: This makes your job doubly tough?

Odom: This makes it interesting, but we have been in worst situations than this. We are going on the road with a team that has started virtually all year. The problem with the depth situation is if you run into foul trouble or an injury that would require an additional sub, you do have a problem there. We can coach from strength from the beginning because our unit is solid. We have to make sure we handle the situation the right way. The first unit has to play well, play together and get the job done. We have to make sure we are really good with our first unit, but I think Dwayne (Day), Bryce (Sheldon) and Stephen (McDowell) will play well. There are times you need bulk strength like the Florida game when Keving Palacios went in there and played well. These are veteran players and they can do it.

Q: Will it be an adjustment period for Renaldo Balkman in returning to the starting lineup?

Odom: He’s started probably half of our games, so I don’t think there is much of an adjustment. There are a lot of good things for Renaldo and Tarence – they are going back to Florida. I think we will be ok. I am not trying to sing a positive song just to sing it – I think our team will play well. We are playing an ACC team on their home court and I think we will do well.

Q: Playing an ACC team on the road vs. playing at home?

Odom: I would much rather play at home, but my first year here we went up to Virginia and played really well in the first round of the NIT. I think we’ve played pretty well on the road this year. We have lost some difficult games this year, at Kentucky and a few other games, but we are prepared to play on the road.

Their team has a level of comfort playing at home. There is a level of comfort they play with there. We need to make sure we play well

Q: What about getting 20 wins with a victory?

Odom: I don’t talk to the team about it, but it’s big to me to get 20 wins. I would love to get another season with 20 on our ledger.

We have to play with our quickness, reaction and speed. We have to play smart.

Q: Is it better to have some of the big name teams playing right now in the NIT – Louisville and Clemson, Michigan and Notre Dame and you?

Odom: Seasons never turn out the way you predict it. One of the coaches brought in the top 25 preseason (magazine) – No. 1 on the list was Michigan State. Louisville was in the top 10. Maryland was in the top 15, Wake Forest. There must have been 8-10 teams in the top 25 that had less than desired years, not bad, but things happen and it’s very much how you stand up to it. I heard Kentucky stood up big yesterday (vs. UConn) and I knew they would. Florida is playing really well and so is LSU. Our league is a good league and it’s crazy – this sport is different. You have play well every night and play at your best every night.