USC is in a three-way tie for second place in the SEC Eastern Division with Florida (16-8) and Vanderbilt (18-6). USC dropped both games to the Gators this year but defeated Vanderbilt twice this season. Every team in the SEC has a winning record this year with the exception of Ole Miss and Arkansas, who are at .500 (12-12).
Georgia is coming off a 71-60 win over Tennessee last Saturday. USC fell 69-58 in Gainesville on Wednesday night.
The Bulldogs are 14-10 on the year and 6-7 in the SEC. The Bulldogs are coached by first-year Head Coach Dennis Felton. They have won five of their last seven games. Five and two at home in the SEC, the Bulldogs are 1-5 in the SEC this year - with that win coming at Rupp Arena (a 65-57 win over UK on 1/17/04).
Georgia and South Carolina have played two overtime games in their last four meetings. Georgia won both of those games.
South Carolina has had success in the Colonial Center with a 13-2 record overall. The losses came against Florida and Mississippi State. At home, the Gamecocks have had been pretty successful against the Bulldogs going 23-13. The Gamecocks had won eight in a row in Columbia before losing to the Dogs 60-55 last year in overtime.
Not a ticket to be had
The last two home games of the year, against Georgia and Kentucky, are a sell-outs. The Kentucky game sold out last Wednesday - two weeks prior to the game. The Georgia game sold out on Tuesday. USC has had five sell-outs this year.
The Gamecocks have played six home SEC games so far and have a record of 4-2. All six games have seen a packed crowd in the Colonial Center as 15,042 or more have packed the Center in those five games. (15,042 vs. Florida; 17,806 vs. Tennessee; 17,927 vs. LSU; 16,227 vs. Alabama; 17,792 vs. MSU; 16,092 vs. Vanderbilt). The LSU crowd of 17,927 was the largest crowd to ever see a basketball game in the state of South Carolina and the first pre-game day sell out.
Fans have poured into the Colonial Center to watch the Gamecocks play their SEC games. 100,886 total fans have packed the Colonial Center in six SEC games this season. USC is averaging 16,814 fans per conference game.
USC Head Coach Dave Odom and Georgia Head Coach Dennis Felton both spoke to the media via the SEC tele-conference on Thursday.
"Georgia seems to be getting very comfortable with new coaching staff," said Odom. "They've changed a lot since the first time we played them. Their defense is so much more improved than it was earlier in the season. They are playing with a cause right now. They were down early in the season but have hung in there. They have four seniors who have really brought this team together. We, on the other hand, have not been able to close out games."
"South Carolina beat us very badly the last time we played them," said Felton. "Before everyone else caught on to it, I knew then they were a very good team. They have a very good bench. There is no dropout when the substitute. And I still feel the same about their team. They are a very tough team to match up with. It's going to be an exciting challenge for us. I'm looking forward to getting to see their new arena. I've been hearing tons of nice things about it."
USC beat Georgia 84-63 in Athens on Jan. 10, 2004. It was the largest win for the Gamecocks since defeating Vanderbilt 66-43 in Nashville on February 16, 2002. It was USC's largest margin of victory in Athens ever and its largest margin of victory in the series dating back to 1962. The win earlier this season against Georgia ended a three game skid that Carolina had against the Dogs and it was the first win since February 21, 2001 in Athens.
USC had six season highs as a team against Georgia and four individual highs. The Gamecocks shot 66.7% from the floor in Athens against Georgia. It remains the highest shooting in a half this season for the Gamecocks.
Against UGA, South Carolina had six players in double figures for the second time this season. The only other time USC recorded this feat was in the season opener against GWU.
Tying it up
The all-time series record between the two schools is 41-40 Georgia. USC would like to knot that all-time record up between the two schools. USC leads the series 23-13 at home.
Carolina is seeking a winning percentage of .500 or better for the fourth time in the 13 years of being a member of the SEC.
Not happy about this stat
USC has lost their last four games on the road in conference play. Last season, the Gamecocks lost four consecutive road conference games before getting their first win and then lost three in a row to end the regular season. Last year, Carolina was 1-11 on the road overall and a 1-7 mark against SEC foes but this season the Gamecocks have improved by going 5-5 overall, posting a 3-4 mark against SEC opponents on the road.
The Leader of the Pack
If the junior from Florence, S.C., Carlos Powell, continues to lead the Gamecocks in points and rebounding for the rest of the year he will be the first Gamecock to lead the team in scoring and rebounding since Linwood Moye during the 1984-85 season.
USC fell out of both polls this week but did receive votes.
As of Thursday, Feb. 26, USC is ranked No. 24 in the Sagarin ratings with its SOS ranking at 92 - a season high. On collegerpi.com, USC is ranked No. 46 with an SOS of 83 - a season high. On Sportsline.com, USC's RPI is No. 40 and its strength of schedule is rated at 109 - a season highs.
Home Sweet Home
The Gamecocks are 13-2 at home this season and continuing their strong performance in the Colonial Center having a 24-6 record their overall. Since the 1991-92 season, USC has had two losing seasons at home. The best home records coming into this season are 13-1 (1997-98), 16-2 (1995-96), 11-3 (1996-97) and 11-4 (2002-03).
These are some ballers
If voting for the SEC All-Freshman team, don't look past the Gamecocks. USC brought in four freshmen this year and three have made an immediate impact on the court this year.
Renaldo Balkman has started six games and averages 6.8 ppg and 4.6 rpg. He leads the team with 39 blocks. Balkman is in the top 10 of six categories among SEC freshmen. Balkman is No. 5 in scoring (6.8 ppg), No. 2 in steals (1.1 spg), No. 2 in block shots (1.5 bpg), No. 4 in rebounding (4.6 rpg), No. 6 in field goal percentage (53.8%) and No. 9 in assists (1.2 apg).
Brandon Wallace has started four games and averaged 3.5 ppg and 3.5 rpg. He is second on the team with 30 blocks. Wallace is in the top 10 of two categories among SEC freshmen. He is No. 4 in blocked shot s(1.2 bpg) and No. 7 in rebounding (3.5 rpg).
Tre' Kelley has really come on during SEC play, having raised his average in the last few weeks to 5.6 ppg with 1.3 rpg. Kelley has played in all 27 games this year. Kelley is No. 4 in assists (2.2 apg) on the SEC freshmen top 10 list.
Who will get there first: Ro or 'Los? One should be the 41st in school history and the other should be 42nd - who will it be?
Rolando Howell is nearing the 1,000 point club mark as he has scored 960 points in his career. Howell needs five more blocks to hit the top 10 in all-time blocks.
Carlos Powell is nearing the 1,000 point club. Powell has scored 934 points in his career thus far. With the exception of the last three games, he has scored in double figures in every game this season.
And finally, Mike Boynton, Jr. has entered USC's all-time top 10 for games played with 118. He is also inching up the list for career steals with 109.
Player Career Category Player Stat Record or place of reachable record
Mike Boynton, Jr. Games Played 118 123/1st (117/10th)
Mike Boynton, Jr. Steals 109 112/10th
Rolando Howell Blocks 72 76/10th
Rolando Howell Points 960 1000/41st
Carlos Powell Points 934 1000/41st
Ro 'The Show' Howell needs just 40 more points to join the 1,000 career points club.
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