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Dec. 1, 2006

SC Head Coach Dave Odom met with the media Friday afternoon to preview the Carolina-Clemson game (Sat., Dec. 2 at 1 pm in the Colonial Center). Good seats still remain and the first 500 fans will receive a free BEAT CLEMSON t-shirt.

The following are some of Odom’s comments from Friday afternoon.

“We face a real challenge tomorrow. If Clemson is able to win tomorrow’s game, they will be in the top 25 on Monday. They are that good. They have proven themselves and they have been on two other teams home courts and won. They have done it with a veteran cast and one that has proven itself over the last couple of years. They return virtually their whole team and have replaced those lost in a big way.

“When I look at them and their style and then I look at our team and the things we are trying to put together right now, the two don’t mesh. They are a physical team that substitutes regularly. We like to get open court baskets, like to shoot open shots and we are short on numbers. We are more selective in the tempo of the game. We would prefer a slower tempo than Clemson would. It’s a battle of the wills and whose style is able to overcome the other. It’s not the kind of game we can win quickly or they can win quickly, I hope. We have to go in there with our jaws set, teeth clinched and ready to take on everything Clemson brings.

“If you look at the keys to the game, we have to attack their pressure in the back-court. If you are lucky enough to get the ball at the half-court you have to establish some consistency on offense. The thing I think is the most important thing on our ledger, we have to pay strict attention to Clemson’s offensive rebounding. We are thin, wiry, not strong, but we can jump. That is something I will push my team to do tomorrow. We have to jump. With jumping you create body contact, get some fouls and get them off of us. At halftime the other night, they had 18 offensive rebounds at Minnesota to none for Minnesota. I don’t think I’ve ever seen that. If it is anything like that tomorrow, I will be a raving manic and there will be some sorry young’ins.”

Media: What’s the single most important aspect of beating their press?

Odom: “It comes in stages. The single most important aspect is having the confidence as a team that you can get the ball to the other end of the court successfully to score. You have to go into a game like that, getting double-teamed and being ok. They will cause deflections and turnovers. I will say to my team today `if you are going to it turnover, throw it into the seventh row or something so at least that gives the defense a chance to set up if you turn it over out of bounds’. The end result of a turnover is bad, it’s worst if it’s live-ball.”

Media: What do you think about the intensity of the Carolina-Clemson rivalry? Is something lacking because there are so many other things you can accomplish during a season?

Odom: “Let’s meet back here Sunday afternoon and I will do a whole thing on that. I went to Spartanburg today for their tip-off club and a few people asked the same type of thing. I had a woman say `you are off to a good start. When do you play again?’ I had a high school coach there (a Clemson graduate) ask me the same thing about when Clemson plays next.

“The players take it serious. Brandon Wallace stood up before our team two days ago and told the team how important this game was to him. I didn’t ask him to do that. We have a number of South Carolina natives coming in next year and maybe that will re-curdle the blood. In truth, the timing of the game is not good. It was good. We set the date and things have changed the last four years. We use to have the same exams and now that takes out two weeks of play because that has changed. You got the high school football playoffs and I am delighted Irmo is the game, but that probably cost us 500 people tomorrow.

“We have to re-visit when we play the game. We have to. There are a lot of things going on and I think the game needs to be played when the students are here.

“I strongly believe this state loves basketball, but those that love basketball have softer voices. They aren’t as given to loud outbursts. Some of our most ardent fans are quiet and they love basketball. I came here to build a basketball program at I am not one to blow my horn, but we have beaten some really good teams in the last couple years and I am very proud of it.”