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March 6, 2007

South Carolina, looking to repeat its success at last year’s SEC Tournament when it came within two points of winning it all against eventual NCAA champion Florida (lost 49-47 in final seconds), will travel to Atlanta for a 3:15 pm match-up with Arkansas on Thurs., March 8 in the Georgia Dome. The game will be shown on LFS with Tom Hammond and Larry Conley making the call. It can also be heard on the Gamecock Radio Network with Mike Morgan (play-by-play) and Casey Manning (color analyst). In addition, it can be picked up via the internet at

The USC-UA winner will play Vanderbilt on Fri., March 9 at 3:15 pm on LFS. Vanderbilt is 20-10 this year and finished second in the SEC Eastern Division with a 10-6 record. USC fell both times to Vandy this year: (68-78 at Vandy and 90-99 vs. Vandy in OT).

If the Arkansas-South Carolina winner gets past the Commodores, the winner would play the winner of the Alabama/Kentucky vs. Mississippi State winner on Sat., March 10 at 1 pm on LFS. USC won at MSU this season, but fell to both UK (twice) and at UA.

The SEC Tournament title game is slated for 1 pm on Sun., March 11 on CBS.

In its last regular season games on March 3, Carolina fell 61-52 at LSU with Tre’ Kelley scoring 19 points; and Arkansas won 82-67 at No. 19/23 Vanderbilt behind Gary Ervin’s 21 points. USC, 14-15 and 4-12 in the SEC, plays a Razorback team that has posted an 18-12 record and was 7-9 in the SEC this year. USC defeated Arkansas 66-60 in its last meeting behind Tre’ Kelley’s 22 points. In that game Brandon Wallace had 13 rebounds, including an un-heard of 10 offensive rebounds.

UA has three starters in double figures (Beverley, 14.3; Weems, 11.3 and Thomas, 11.1) and Carolina has Tre’ Kelley scoring 19.1 ppg and three others scoring 9.0+ ppg (Wallace, 9.7; Archie, 9.1; and Sheldon, 9.0). Wallace paces USC with 9.2 boards per game and 2.8 bpg, while Charles Thomas (5.4 rpg) leads the ‘Backs on the boards and Steven Hill has collected 3.0 bpg.

SEC Tournament

Carolina is 15-15 in the SEC Tournament since joining the league (see chart below for records vs. SEC opponents).

Under Coach Odom the Gamecocks are 7-5 in the SEC Tournament and have advanced to the semifinals twice and the finals once. USC fell 49-47 to Florida last year in the SEC Tournament finals with Tre’ Kelley joining Renaldo Balkman on the SEC All-Tournament team. The other two times under Odom, Carolina dropped opening round losses to Ole Miss.

Record Against Opponents in the SEC Tournament All-Time

Mississippi 3-3

LSU 2-0

Alabama 2-2

Mississippi State 2-0

Tennessee 2-1

Florida 1-3

Arkansas 1-1

Kentucky 2-3

Auburn 0-2

Georgia 0-1

Overall 15-15

Big time in big land

As of March 5 on the national rankings list, Brandon Wallace is No. 14 in blocked shots and No. 28 in rebounds. He is No. 2 blocked shots and rebounds in the SEC.

Nationally Tre’ Kelley is No. 46 in assists and moved up to No. 39 with 19.1 ppg.

As a team on the national scene USC is No. 9 in fouls and No. 7 in turnovers. USC is also No. 45 in blocked shots per game and No. 60.

Carolina has turned the ball over nine times or fewer in a game 10 times this season, including nine times or less in the last six of seven games. The last five of seven games USC has turned the ball over just eight times each.

Coaches Comment

USC Head Coach Dave Odom has this to say about the Thursday match-up with Arkansas on the SEC teleconference on Monday: “Arkansas had an impressive win at Vanderbilt on Saturday. For Arkansas to go into Nashville and win on senior day – that was certainly impressive. Arkansas has a lot of talent and you have to be impressed with them. They have so many athletic players. They are another big team in the league that we’ll have to be concerned about. Our team has hung in there the last 3-4 weeks. We have gotten better and our team was very competitive at LSU. We have to continue to work on our shot selection and not turn the ball over in live ball situations like we did in the first half against LSU. We look forward to Thursday afternoon vs. Arkansas.”

Arkansas coach Stan Heath had this to say on the same teleconference: “It’s a new season. We are starting to play a little better and are playing well heading into the tournament. I think for my team personally, we have several new guys that will be their first time to play in the SEC Tournament. So it’s important for us to settle into this game we have with South Carolina first. One thing about this league, everybody is very good, so if we don’t play at a very high level, we’ll lose. South Carolina has played people very well. Tre’ Kelly is one of the best point guards in the league.”

This would be a big one

There’s a lot of talk about Tre’ Kelley when the nation’s top point guards come up and for good reason. In his four-year career Kelley has scored 1477 points and dished out 505 assists. He is No. 9 on the career points list and No. 3 on the career assists list. He needs 28 points to pass Art Whisnant at No. 8 (1505, 1959-62) in career points.

If Kelley can score 1500 points and finish with 500 assists, he would be the first player in USC history to accomplish that feat in 99 years of Gamecock basketball.

Kelley is just the third Gamecock to post 1000 points and 500 assists in his career. Jack Gilloon (1975-78) posted 533 assists and scored 1027 points while Melvin Watson (1995-98) was the second player to do so with 1424 points and 543 assists.

Kelley has scored 19+ points in each of the last eight SEC games to average more than 25.1 ppg during that span. His 21.3 ppg in league play are tops in the SEC and his 19.1 ppg are second in the league overall.

Looking back at LSU

* Tre’ Kelley scored in double figures for the 26th time this season and the 69th time in his career. He scored 18+ points in 13 of 16 SEC games this season. He scored in double figures in 15 of the 16 SEC games.

* Brandon Wallace moved to No. 10 in career blocks in the SEC and No. 11 in career games played. Wallace is No. 1 on both leads in USC career play.

* Kelley is No. 2 on the USC career list in games played with 133, which is good enough for No. 13 on the SEC career list.

Archie Following

Dominique Archie is second on the team with 5.1 rebounds and .80 blocked shots. Archie tied his career high with three blocked shots on Feb. 10 against Georgia. He recorded three blocks against Southern California and Lipscomb earlier this season. Archie, a red-shirt freshman, is third on the team with 9.1 ppg.

lor with 122 in 1972 and his 1973 total of 113 is the second most.

Like this dish a lot

Tre’ Kelley has gotten an assist on 35.6% of his teammates made field goals when he’s on the floor, according to ken That puts him 18th in the country, with no other SEC player in the top 50!

Moving On Up

Tre’ Kelley, Brandon Wallace and Bryce Sheldon continue to climb the career record paths as both are working on a number of career milestones this year. With his play in the first round of the SEC Tournament, Wallace will have played in 135 career games. Kelley is No. 2 totaling 134 games played. Kelley is one behind Wallace because he missed the Western Carolina game on Jan. 3 with his injured knee. On the SEC career list – Wallace will move to a tie for No. 8 and Kelley will move to a tie for No. 11.

Third best

Bryce Sheldon is 62-142 from three point range this season (43.7%). Entering the game against the Razorbacks, the 43% is the third-best 3 point % in a season in school history. The only Gamecock to hit better than 43% in a season is Brent Price with 49% (68-of-139) in 1989 and 44% (49-of-112) in 1988.

Sheldon is No. 8 with 62 3s made this season and could finish as high as No. 2 on the career list with 41% of his career 3s hitting pay-dirt.

Wallace and English: Boards and Blocks

Entering the game with the Razorbacks, Brandon Wallace has 760 rebounds and 244 blocked shots in his career. The only other Gamecock to have at least 700 rebounds and 200 blocked shots in his career was Alex English. (1973-76) English grabbed 1064 rebounds and blocked 230 shots.

Starting them all

Dominique Archie and Brandon Wallace have started every game. Last year Tre’ Kelley was the only Gamecock to start all 38 games, setting a school record with games started and games played.

USC used the same line-up it used at the Citadel and vs. Clemson to start the last six games. It includes Wallace, Archie, Tre’ Kelley, Bryce Sheldon and Brandis Raley-Ross (starting in place of Evka Baniulis).