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Aug. 11, 2009

COLUMBIA, S.C. – Contests against six teams that participated in postseason play, including three that competed in the NCAA Tournament, highlight the 2009-10 South Carolina men’s basketball non-conference schedule, released on Tuesday.

In his second year at the helm of the Gamecock program, Darrin Horn has made specific adjustments to the non-conference schedule with RPI and strength of schedule rankings in mind. The Gamecocks will host eight non-conference contests, with four road competitions, including contests at archrival Clemson and Boston College, as well as participating in the highly-competitive field at the Second Annual Charleston Classic.

“We are pleased with the way our non-conference schedule finalized for our second year at South Carolina,” Horn said. “The structure of the schedule, along with the caliber of teams we are playing fit very well into our scheduling philosophy. Last season we competed against eight non-conference teams with an RPI above 200, this year we project that number to be cut in half. The schedule will be very competitive, with games against Clemson and Boston College on the road and Baylor at home. The non-conference schedule will help us prepare for the SEC portion of the season, which will be as competitive as it’s ever been.”

The upcoming non-conference schedule features contests against at least seven teams that won 18 or more games last season, with six of those teams advancing to postseason play. Three of those teams – Clemson, Boston College and Western Kentucky – competed in the NCAA Tournament last March. South Carolina has the opportunity to play five BCS schools, compared to playing just two last season.

The Gamecocks kick off the regular season with back-to-back home contests against Alabama A&M (Nov. 13) and Georgia Southern (Nov. 16) at Colonial Life Arena, before traveling to the low-country to take part in the Second Annual Charleston Classic (Nov. 19-22). The Gamecocks join LaSalle, South Florida, Tulane, Miami (Fla.), UNC-Wilmington, Davidson and Penn State at the four-day event. South Carolina, Davidson, Miami and Penn State each made an appearance in the Postseason NIT last March. The Gamecocks begin tournament play against La Salle, a squad that finished the 2008-09 campaign with an 18-13 record, including a 9-7 slate in Atlantic 10 Conference action.

Following the Thanksgiving holiday, South Carolina will play three of its next four contests in Columbia, beginning with consecutive home dates against Jacksonville (Nov. 27) and Western Kentucky (Dec. 2). Jacksonville captured the Atlantic Sun Conference regular-season crown and advanced to the title game of the A-Sun Tournament last season. The Dolphins fell to Florida in the opening round of the NIT last March. Last season, Western Kentucky collected its second-consecutive Sun Belt Tournament title and advanced to its second-straight NCAA Tournament. WKU defeated Illinois in the opening round of NCAA action before falling to Gonzaga in the tournament’s second round. The Hilltoppers have captured five consecutive 20-win seasons, four of which came under the direction of Horn.

Carolina travels to the upstate to face archrival Clemson (Dec. 6) for its first true road contest of the season. The Tigers advanced to their second-straight NCAA Tournament in 2009. South Carolina looks to avenge a 98-87 loss to Clemson last season in Columbia.

Following exams, South Carolina will host Richmond (Dec. 16), a team that won 20 games last season and returns four starters from its College Basketball Invitational squad. Back-to-back contests against Southern Conference opponents are next for Carolina, as the Gamecocks travel to Wofford (Dec. 19) and host Furman (Dec. 21) in their final contest prior to the break for the Christmas holiday.

Carolina travels to face perennial ACC contender Boston College (Dec. 30), a squad that has advanced to seven of the last nine NCAA Tournaments, following the holiday break. The Gamecocks and Eagles have met just one time in the history of the two programs, where Carolina defeated Boston College 86-64 during the 1971-72 season.

The Gamecocks return home to open the new year, hosting the Baylor Bears (Jan. 2), in a highly-anticipated contest at Colonial Life Arena. South Carolina defeated Baylor 85-84 in Waco last season, as Zam Fredrick’s lay-up with just over five seconds remaining in the game proved to be the game-winning basket in the one-point Carolina win. The victory over then-No. 19 Baylor marked the first Gamecock road win over a ranked non-conference opponent since a 97-83 road victory over then-No. 8 Cincinnati at the Shoemaker Center on Feb. 15, 1997.

South Carolina concludes the non-conference portion of its schedule when it hosts Longwood (Jan. 5), a squad that finished the 2008-09 campaign with a 17-14 record.

Game times and television details for the non-conference schedule will be released at a later date. The Southeastern Conference schedule, along with television details, will also be released at a later date.

2009-10 Non-Conference Schedule
Nov. 13 – Alabama A&M
Nov. 16 – Georgia Southern
Nov. 19-22 – at Charleston Classic (Charleston, S.C.)
Nov. 27 – Jacksonville
Dec. 2 – Western Kentucky
Dec. 6 – at Clemson (Clemson, S.C.)
Dec. 16 – Richmond
Dec. 19 – at Wofford (Spartanburg, S.C.)
Dec. 21 – Furman
Dec. 30 – at Boston College (Chestnut Hill, Mass.)
Jan. 2 – Baylor
Jan. 5 – Longwood