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

March 20, 2006

Game 35 o South Carolina at Florida State o March 21, 2006 o Donald L. Tucker Center (12,100)o Tallahassee, Fla.

Tipoff: 7:05 pm (EST)
TV: ESPN (Bob Wischusen, Tim McCormick and Jayson Williams)
Radio: Gamecock Radio Network
Series Record: FSU leads 16-13
In Columbia: FSU leads 8-5
In Tallahassee: Series tied 6-6
Neutral site: Series tied 2-2
Last Meeting: FSU defeated USC 55-65 in Roanoke, Va. 3-7-91 at the Metro Conf. Tourney

USC, 19-15 and 6-10 SEC, continues its quest to defend its 2005 NIT title when it travels to former Metro Conference rival Florida State University, 20-9 and 9-7 ACC (fifth place), on Tues., March 21 at 7 pm. Both won first round games: USC hosting Western Kentucky on March 15 (74-55) and Florida State hosting Butler on March 17 (67-63). USC is traveling to FSU because FSU is the higher seed (No. 2 to USC’s No. 3).

The game will be televised on ESPN with Bob Wischusen, Tim McCormick and Jayson Williams making the call. The FSU game can be heard on the Gamecock Radio Network with Mike Morgan (play-by-play) and Casey Manning (color analyst). The FSU game can also be heard via the internet at

FSU’s most recent appearance in the NIT was in 2004 when it finished 1-1 (defeated Wichita State and lost to Iowa State). They are 8-4 in five NIT trips.

Playing for What?

The winner in Tallahassee gets the winner of No. 4 Minnesota at No. 1 Cincinnati (in Cincinnati at 9 pm (EST) on March 21). The two winners from Tuesday will play at the higher seeds home on Thurs., March 23 with a trip to New York City’s Madison Square Garden and the NIT semi-finals on the line. Carolina is 2-0 vs. the Gophers (last: Dec. 23 at UM, 57-53 win) and 13-7 vs. Cincinnati – another former Metro Conference rival (last: Feb. 1, 1998 vs. UC, 67-65 win).

Vs. old Rivals

USC hasn’t played Florida State since it joined the SEC 15 years ago. But, the two met up at least twice a year when there were members of the now extinct Metro Conference (1983-91). During that span USC posted an 8-12 record vs. the Seminoles, including a 4-4 record in Tallahassee.

The Series: FSU leads 16-13
Last Meeting: March 7, 1991 in Roanoke, Va. (FSU 70-59)
Last Carolina Win: Jan. 20, 1990 in Tallahassee (USC 56-53)
Last FSU Win: March 7, 1991 in Roanoke, Va. (FSU 70-59)
FSU posted a 14-2 home record this season, including 6-2 in the ACC, while USC finished 5-7 on the road, including 3-5 in SEC play.

Re-writing the NIT records a bit

Western Kentucky turned the ball over 23 times – a USC season-high for an opponent. The 23 broke Ball State’s own NIT record for an opponent when the Cardinals turned the ball over 22 ties vs. USC on March 21, 2002 (USC won to 82-47 to win a trip to NYC). WKY had the most turnovers for an opponent since Clemson turned it over 23 times vs. the Gamecocks on Dec. 4, 2004.

USC made nine three pointers, topping the Gamecock NIT effort by one (8) vs. UConn on March 14, 2001 and Syracuse on March 26, 2002. USC shot 26 three-pointers to top the 2001 team vs. UConn (3-14-01).

USC tied the NIT record with 17 steals (same as USC team vs. Ball State on March 21, 2002). The 18 steals are No. 8 on USC’s single game all-time list, tying with five other teams (last: vs. Ball State on March 21, 2002).

Individually, USC tied two NIT records. Brandon Wallace’s six blocked shots tied Jeff Roulston’s effort vs. George Washington on March 15, 1991. Wallace, Tarence Kinsey, and Rocky Trice each had four steals, putting them at same number as six others in an NIT game.

On the flip side, Anthony Winchester’s 16 rebound effort vs. the Gamecocks was an NIT best for an opponent individually.

Probable Starters for the Florida State game (from previous game)

South Carolina Gamecocks (19-15, 6-10 SEC) PPG RPG APG
F #14 Antoine Tisby (6-8, 237, Sr., Kansas City, Kan.) 5.6 2.9 0.7*
F #21 Tarence Kinsey (6-6, 189, Sr., Tampa, Fla.) 15.5 4.6 2.2
C #33 Brandon Wallace (6-10, 198, Jr., Jackson, S.C.) 7.1 2.2 1.7*
G #01 Tre’ Kelley (6-1, 183, Jr., Washington, D.C.) 12.0 2.9 4.4
G #10 Rocky Trice (6-3, 163, Sr., Swainsboro, Ga.) 6.8 3.2 1.5
Florida State Seminoles (20-9, 9-7 ACC) PPG RPG
F #12 Al Thornton (6-7, 208, Jr., Perry, Ga.) 16.4 7.0
F #32 Alexander Johnson (6-10, 250, Jr., Albany, Ga.) 12.9 7.4
G #03 Isaiah Swann (6-1, 197, So., Germantown, Md.) 8.1 2.0
G #04 Todd Galloway (5-11, 178, Sr., Baltimore, Md.) 7.6 2.1
G #21 Jason Rich (6-3, 185, So., Pensacola, Fla.) 10.2 3.1
* – Blocks per game

Florida State’s First Round Win

Alexander Johnson’s two baskets in the final minute lifted Florida State to a 67-63 win over cold-shooting Butler in a first round National Invitational Tournament game March 17.

The 6-10 Johnson finished with 20 points and nine rebounds while teammate Jason Rich, who sparked an early second-half run, led all scorers with a career best 22, including 13 in the second half.

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 17-8 overall in the NIT and are 10-1 under head coach Dave Odom. USC has made it to Madison Square Garden in New York four times: 1969, 1975, 2002 and 2005. Carolina played in the championship in 2002 and in 2005. USC took home the championship in 2005 while finishing as the runner-up in 2002 to Memphis.

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

To 20

With a win over Florida State, Carolina will have 20 wins for the third consecutive season. 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 15.5 ppg. Kinsey leads USC in scoring in every way you figure it: SEC games (15.4 ppg), wins (16.2 ppg), losses (14.7 ppg), home (15.8 ppg), away (14.8 ppg) and neutral (16.2 ppg). After his 5-9 performance from beyond the arc vs. Western Kentucky Kinsey continues to lead the team in 3 pt % (40.1%) and free throw % (86.1%) as well. He is second in MPG (34.5) and steals (1.5) and third in assists (2.2). He has hit at least one three in 29 games this season.

Tre’ Kelley is second with 12.0 ppg and leads the team with 4.4 apg and 34.6 mpg. Brandon Wallace leads the team with 1.7 bpg. He and Balkman are tied with 202 rebounds total, tallying 5.9 rpg, Wallace is second with 2.2 apg and fourth with 7.2 ppg. Wallace has 21 blocks in the last seven games (3.0 bpg), including six in the win over Western Kentucky.

His four double-doubles match the same number as Renaldo Balkman, but top Kinsey’s two. Balkman’s 1.6 spg lead the team and he is third on the team with 9.5 ppg and 2.0 apg.

Keep fumbling it

The Carolina defense has stepped up in the past six games by forcing 105 turnovers – including a season high 23 turnovers by Western Carolina- for an average of 17.5 TO per game. In the same six games, USC has turned the ball over 65 times at 10.8 topg – including the four TO in the Mississippi State game. The Gamecocks are 5-1 in their last five games.

Opponent Opponent TO
Auburn 13
Mississippi State 17
Tennessee 21
Kentucky 13
Florida 18
Western Kentucky 23

A Few Things

* Keving Palacios, who came 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 had surgery on Sat., March 18 and will not play the rest of the season.

* Tre’ Kelley is the only Gamecock to start every game this season. If he starts vs. FSU it will be his 35th start and it would put him at No. 2 on the single season list with Jamel Bradley (2002) and Aaron Lucas (2002). No. 1 at 37 games is Chuck Eidson (2002). Kelley is the first Gamecock to start every game in a season since Eidson did it in 2002-03, starting all 28 games, averaging 11.3 ppg. Tarence Kinsey is currently tied with two others at No. 4 with 33 starts this season (he would be No. 3 if he starts the next game). See records on pages 12 and 13.

* Carolina is 20-13 under Coach Odom in the month of March. Since joining the league in 1991-92, SC is now 36-34 in March. The win at Auburn was Odom’s 370th win as a head coach and he needs four more wins to hit 100 wins at USC. * Tarence Kinsey has scored 20+ points 10 times this season and a career best 24 points three times. He was just off his career best of 24 when he scored 23 in the win over WKY. 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 made the SEC 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).

* 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. Even more impressive, 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 Florida on Jan. 18, 2003.

* 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.

20 or less

Western Kentucky scored 18 points in the first half on March 15. They were the seventh opponent 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
Western Kentucky 18 1st half
Detroit-Mercy 15 1st half
Wofford 15 1st half


Carolina has hit at least six 3-pointers in 25 of its 34 games this season as compared to hitting six+ in just 13 of 33 games last year. In addition, USC has hit 10+ in eight games this season, including the 10-24 performance vs. Kentucky on March 11. USC put up a 5-3 record in those games.

When Carolina shoots 40% or better from behind the arc this season they are 9-4. The four losses were against Marquette (92-89), vs. UT (76-69), at UK (80-78) and vs. LSU (61-64).

Continuing to graduate

USC’s three seniors will all graduate by Aug., 2006. Tarence Kinsey and Rocky Trice will graduate in May with Antoine Tisby finishing his degree in August.

USC saw all four seniors graduate last year: John Chappell, Josh Gonner, Jon Land and Carlos Powell. Chappell (Macedonia) and Powell (Portugal) are playing basketball overseas.

Go back two seasons ago and USC had three of its five seniors graduate: Mike Boynton, Jr., Sheldon Everett and IVAN HOWELL. Rolando Howell, currently starring the Italian League, needs one more class to graduate.


USC is 8-6 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 28 total, including nine games on national television (7 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 13-14 on TV this season. See complete schedule on page one.