USC Goes On The Road Today To Face The Vols

The University of South Carolina Gamecocks will be trying to sew-up an NCAA bid on the road today when they take on the Tennessee Volunteers in Thompson-Boling Arena in Knoxville, TN. You already know everything there is to know about the Gamecocks. So with a little help from the UT Sports Information Director, we decided to offer you information on USC's opponent in this critical final game of the regular season match-up for both of these teams. UT has a definite home court advantage ...

RADIO: Gamecock Sports Network (Mike Morgan, Casey Manning)

TV: (Tom Hammond, Larry Conley)

AP Poll (UT:nr/USC:nr)
Coaches Poll (UT:nr/USC:nr)

South Carolina Gamecocks
Dave Odom (Guilford 1965)
Overall Record: 17th year --333-213
at South Carolina : 3rd year --55-39
2003-04 Schedule/Results
2003-04 Statistics

Tennessee Volunteers
Buzz Peterson (North Carolina 1986)
Overall Record: 7th year -- 151-90
at Tennessee: 3rd year --46-40
2003-04 Schedule/Results
2003-04 Statistics

South Carolina and Tennessee will complete their regular season schedules Saturday in Thompson-Boling Arena. Tipoff is scheduled for 1 p.m.

The Vols fell to 14-12 on the season and 6-9 in Southeastern Conference action following a 58-61 loss at Vanderbilt Wednesday night. C.J. Watson led the Vols with 15 points, seven rebounds and three assists. Scooter McFadgon leads the Vols and ranks third in the SEC with 18.1 points per game this year.

South Carolina dropped to 21-8 on the season and 8-7 in league play with a 65-84 loss to Kentucky Wednesday in Columbia. The Gamecocks bring one of the SEC's top defenses, USC leads the league in scoring defense, field goal percentage defense, 3-point field goal percentage defense, blocked shots and steals.

Tennessee is battling Georgia for the SEC East's fifth seed in the conference tournament next week. The Vols will need to finish one game ahead of the Bulldogs to get the fifth seed since Georgia holds the tie-breakers on Tennessee if the two schools tie.

Tennessee Trends
* Tennessee doesn't have any senior players to honor before Saturday's game but the Vols will honor two senior managers.

* Freshman Dane Bradshaw has moved into the starting lineup in each of UT's last two games. He is averaging 4.5 points, 2.5 rebounds and 3.0 assists in 24.5 minutes of action during those two outings.

* C.J. Watson needs four assists for 300 in his career. He enters the South Carolina game with 296 career assists, including 136 this year.

* Scooter McFadgon's 58 3-pointers this season is tied for 10th on UT's single-season 3-pointers made lists. McFadgon, who has made 58-of-151 3-point attempts this season, is tied with Brandon Wharton (1996-97).

* McFadgon is shooting 90.6 percent (125-of-138) from the line to rank second on UT's single season free throw percentage list. Bill Justus has held the record at 92.0 percent (133-of-147) since the 1968-69 season.

* Combining both his Memphis and UT career scoring totals, McFadgon has scored 1,127 career points.

* Brandon Crump leads the Vols with eight double-doubles on the season. His eight double-doubles tie for third-most in the SEC and are the most by a Vol since 1995-96.

* Only seven of Tennessee's 26 games have been decided by fewer than 10 points.

* Tennessee is 10-2 when C.J. Watson has six or more assists this season.

* UT is third in the SEC with a 72.5 free throw percentage and have outshot their opponents at the line 644-509 this season.

* With a 13-3 record at home this season, the Vols have secured their eighth consecutive winning record at home and their 14th winning season at Thompson-Boling Arena.

* Tennessee is 13-1 when leading with five minutes left in a game.

The Series
South Carolina trails in the all-time series, 21-20 ... South Carolina won the first meeting this season 85-64 Jan. 17 in Columbia ... Last year the two teams split their meetings with the home team winning each game ... Tennessee won in Knoxville 60-56 on Jan. 29 while USC won in Columbia 77-63 on Feb. 19 ... South Carolina leads the series 11-7 when it is played in Columbia ... When the series is played in Knoxville, the Vols own a 14-8 advantage ... The Vols have won eight of the last 13 meetings between the schools ... The two teams have met two times in the Southeastern Conference Tournament with each team winning one time ... Tennessee and South Carolina met for the first time on Jan 15, 1927 in Columbia ... The two teams played off-and-on between the 1927 and 1972 seasons but did not play each other from 1972 until 1988 when the series was renewed.

Last Meeting
The road woes continued for Tennessee as the Vols fell to South Carolina, 64-85, Saturday, Jan. 17, at the Colonial Center in Columbia, S.C. ... The Gamecocks shot 63.6 percent (35-of-55) from the field and 64.7 percent (11-of-17) from 3-point range in the win ... It was the best shooting performance in the three-year Dave Odom era at USC ... Brandon Crump and C.J. Watson led the Vols with 15 points each while John Winchester added 10 points ... Scooter McFadgon, who entered the game leading the SEC in scoring, was limited to a season-low seven points ... Josh Gonner led the Gamecocks with a career-high 24 points on 10-of-13 shooting from the field ... South Carolina hit 10 of its first 13 shots to open a 24-6 lead at the start of the game and led by as many as 23 points in the first half ... A 13-3 run by the Vols cut the lead to 40-27 at halftime ... USC opened the second half on an 8-2 run and never looked back ... The game was played before 17,806 fans, the largest crowd to watch a basketball game in the state of South Carolina.

Looking at South Carolina
South Carolina fell to 21-8 on the season and 8-7 in SEC action with a 65-84 loss to Kentucky Wednesday night in Columbia, S.C. ... Carlos Powell led the Gamecocks with 15 points and nine rebounds ... The loss was USC's third in its last four games ... Powell, a 6-foot-7 junior forward, is leading a balanced South Carolina scoring attack with 12.7 points and 6.4 rebounds ... Josh Gonner, a 6-foot-2 junior college transfer, is the only other USC player averaging double figure scoring with 11.6 points per game ... Nine players are averaging 13 minutes or more per game this season ... Mike Boynton (5th with a 39.5 3-point field goal percentage) and Renaldo Balkman (5th with 1.43 blocks per game) are the only South Carolina players to rank among the top five of any of the Southeastern Conference individual statistic categories ... Against Georgia Feb. 28 senior Rolando Howell suffered a fractured left wrist that ended his season ... Howell, who finished his career with 970 points, was averaging 9.0 points and 5.4 rebounds in 16 games before the injury ... South Carolina brings one of the SEC's top defenses by allowing opponents just 61.6 points per game on 38.5 shooting from from the field and 28.3 percent shooting from 3-point range, all three of those statistics are the best in the league ... USC also leads the league in blocked shots (5.72 bpg) and steals (9.52 spg) ... Head coach Dave Odom is 55-39 in his third season at USC and 333-213 in his 17th year as a head coach.

South Carolina Connections
Tennessee freshman center Major Wingate and USC junior forward Carlos Powell were high school teammates during the 2000-01 season at Wilson High School in Florence, S.C. ... Wingate, a native of Florence, S.C., attended Wilson HS through his junior year ... USC's Powell attended Wilson HS for his junior and senior campaigns ... The duo were also AAU teammates ... Jemere Hendrix attended Clemson University for part of the 2001-02 season ... As a freshman for the Tigers he played three minutes in a 59-81 loss to South Carolina in Clemson, S.C. on Dec. 8, 2001 ... Hendrix was 0-for-1 from the field and gathered one rebound against the Gamecocks.

Looking Back
Tennessee led by as many as 14 points but could not hold on to the lead down the stretch as the Commdores rallied for a 61-58 win Wednesday, March 3, at Memorial Gym in Nashville ... Vanderbilt's Matt Freije, who was playing his last game in Memorial Gym, scored 19 of his game-high 28 points in the second half to lead the rally ... Tennessee used an 11-0 run to take a 26-12 lead with 6:40 remaining in the first half ... Freije then led a 10-0 Commodore run that cut the lead to 26-22 ... UT's John Winchester hit a circus shot at the halftime buzzer to give UT a 35-30 lead at the break ... In the second half it was all Freije as he had six of VU's nine second half field goals, including a 3-pointer with 1:58 left in the game that gave the Commodores their first lead since a 3-2 advantage early in the game ... VU used a layup by Russell Lakey and a pair of free throws by Scott Hundley to seal the win ... Scooter McFadgon hit a 3-pointer with seven seconds left but Tennessee couldn't rally ... C.J. Watson led the Vols with 15 points while McFadgon added 13 points ... UT shot 51.1 percent from the field but just 41.7 percent (5-of-12) from the free throw line. No Seniors On Senior Day For just the third time in the last 51 seasons, and the first since the 1977-78 campaign, Tennessee will not have any seniors to recognize on Senior Day ... The Vol roster features four juniors, six sophomores and two freshmen this season ... The last time the Vols did not have a senior on its roster was during the 1977-78 season, one year after Ernie Grunfeld graduated and Bernard King entered the NBA Draft following his junior year ... The only other time on record that the Vols did not have a senior on its roster was during the 1953-54 season. Tennessee's SEC Tournament Scenarios Entering the last weekend of conference action, Tennessee will be either the fifth or sixth seed in the SEC's Eastern Division ... The Vols will get the East's fifth seed with a win over South Carolina coupled with a Georgia loss to Vanderbilt Saturday ... If Tennessee loses to South Carolina and Georgia wins, the Bulldogs will get the fifth seed ... If both Tennessee and Georgia win Saturday, Georgia will get the fifth seed due to the Bulldogs having a better division record (5-5) than the Vols (4-6) ... If Tennessee and Georgia both lose, Georgia will get the fifth seed because the Bulldogs would have a better division record (4-6) than UT (3-7) ... The East's fifth seed will play the West's fourth seed at 1 p.m. Wednesday, March 11 ... The sixth seed in the East will play the West's third seed at 9:45 p.m. ... Alabama and LSU are potential third seeds in the West while Arkansas, Auburn and Mississippi are possible fourth seeds.

Vols Have Won Six In A Row In Final Home Game Tennessee has a six-game winning streak in its final home game of the season ... The Vols have not lost their final home game since a 64-74 loss to No. 3 Kentucky on Feb. 25, 1997 ... Last year Tennessee took a 59-49 overtime win over 23rd-ranked Mississippi State on senior day.

Injury Doesn't Slow Watson
C.J. Watson suffered a sprained big toe against Georgia (2/21/04) but hasn't let something as small as a toe slow him down ... In the three games since sustaining the injury he is averaging 14.0 points, 5.0 rebounds and 4.0 assists in 34.7 minutes per game ... He is shooting 46.7 percent (14-of-30) from the field and 50 percent (7-of-14) from 3-point range ... Watson has been limited in practice since suffering the injury and has spent most of his time in a walking boot ... At Kentucky (2/25/04), he gave the Vols 11 points and six assists in an inspiring 29 minutes of action ... Against Auburn (2/28/04) he had one of his best scoring outputs of the season with 16 points to go with six rebounds ... At Vanderbilt (3/3/04) he led the Vols with 15 points, seven rebounds and three assists.

Peterson Gets 150th Win

Tennessee head coach Buzz Peterson got his 150th career victory with an 83-66 win over Mississippi Feb. 18 ... In eight seasons as a head coach Peterson has recorded a 151-90 (.627) career mark ... Forty-six of those wins have come at Tennessee while 26 were at Tulsa and 79 were at Appalachian State ... Peterson's 151 career wins ranks seventh among active Southeastern Conference coaches.

McFadgon Named Second Team NABC All-District 7
Scooter McFadgon was named to the National Association of Basketball Coaches (NABC) Division I All-District Team on February 18 ... McFadgon is a second team All-District 7 selection ... The teams are selected by a panel of member coaches of the NABC ... First team selections are: Matt Freije (Vanderbilt), Francisco Garcia (Louisville), Gerald Fitch (Kentucky), Cuthbert Victor (Murray State) and Erik Daniels (Kentucky) ... Joining McFadgon on the second team are Antonio Burks (Memphis), Chuck Hayes (Kentucky), Ricky Minard (Morehead State) and Adrian Henning (Austin Peay).

Ellis To Be Honored as SEC Legend
Two-time first team All-America Dale Ellis will be honored as an SEC Legend at the Southeastern Conference Basketball Tournament in Atlanta ... A two-time SEC Player of the Year (1982 and 1983), Ellis led the Vols to the 1982 SEC Championship ... The Marietta, Ga., native still holds the conference record for field goal percentage in a season (65.4 percent) and ranks fifth on UT's scoring lists with 2,065 career points ... The ninth overall selection in the 1983 NBA Draft, Ellis played 19 seasons in the NBA for nine different teams ... Considered one of the best 3-point shooters in NBA history, he led the league by making 46.4 percent of his 3-pointers in 1997-98.

Tennessee Is Tough At Home
Tennessee has been a different team at home and on the road this season ... The Vols are 6-1 in SEC home games but 0-8 on the road this season ... Following are Tennessee's stats in SEC games at home and on the

Home Sweet Home
While the Vols have struggled on the road this season, they have been tough at home ... Tennessee is 13-3 at Thompson-Boling Arena this season ... UT's only home losses have come to No. 9 Kentucky, No. 5 Louisville and No. 15 Georgia Tech ... Kentucky needed a 25-foot 3-pointer with 16.3 seconds left in regulation to send the game into overtime in the Wildcats' win.

Home Court Advantage
Thompson-Boling Arena has provided the Vols with a definite home court advantage since the facility opened in time for the 1987-88 season.
* Tennessee is 189-78 (.708) in its 17th season in Thompson-Boling Arena.
* Since the 1998 season, the Vols are 90-19 (.826) in Thompson-Boling Arena.
* Tennessee is 76-17 (.817) since the 1999 season at home. UT recorded a 14-1 record in 1999, a 15-1 mark in 2000, 12-3 in 2001, 10-4 in 2002 and 12-5 in 2003.
* The Vols are 42-14 against SEC teams at home over the last five seasons.
* UT has won 54 of its last 59 home games against non-conference opponents.

Tennessee Against Ranked Teams
Tennessee is 2-6 against teams ranked among the Associated Press Top 25 this year ... UT has wins over 23rd-ranked Vanderbilt and No. 22 Florida and losses at No. 14 Florida, vs. No. 9 Kentucky, vs. No. 5 Louisville, at No. 11 Mississippi State, vs. No. 15 Georgia Tech and at No. 9 Kentucky this season ... The Vols are 81-186 all-time against teams ranked in the Associated Press Top 25 ... Tennessee is 39-116 all-time against teams ranked in the AP Top 10 and 17-27 against teams ranked in the Top 5.

Hitting The Boards
Tennessee ranks second in the Southeastern Conference with 37.7 rebounds per game ... The Vols have surpassed the 50-rebound mark two times with 50 boards at Nebraska (12/13/03) and 57 against The Citadel (12/17/03) ... UT is outrebounding its opponents by 3.7 rebounds per game which ranks fifth in the SEC ... UT is averaging 13.00 offensive rebounds per game.

UT Trying Different Travel Plans
Trying to make road games more like home games, the Tennessee Vols have tried several different travel strategies in an effort to make weekday road games more like a home game ... The Vols first tried it against Mississippi State by leaving Knoxville at noon for the 8 p.m. (EST) game in Starkville on Jan. 28 ... Tennessee tried the same travel plans for its game at LSU on Feb. 4 ... Against Kentucky, the Vols returned to travelling on Tuesday night instead of the day of the game and continued the trend against Vanderbilt on March 3 ... Travelling the same day as a game is nothing new for the Vols, they also did it three times during the 2001-02 season ... UT coach Buzz Peterson got the idea from his college coach Dean Smith, who did the same thing when Peterson was a player at North Carolina.

Hendrix, Vols Getting Offensive On Boards
Tennessee ranks third in the SEC with 13.00 offensive rebounds per game on the season ... Ten times the Vols have recorded 15 or more offensive rebounds in a game ... Jemere Hendrix has been leading the offensive charge with 74 offensive rebounds, a number that ranks sixth in the SEC (2.85 rpg) ... Against 15th-ranked Georgia Tech he recorded a career-high nine rebounds at the offensive end of the court.

Watson: One Of SEC's Top Playmakers
While several other point guards around the nation have been bogarting the headlines and highlights, sophomore C.J. Watson has quietly established himself as one of the top playmakers in the college game ... Nicknamed "The Quiet Storm," he is second the SEC with 5.23 assists per game ... His assist-to-turnover ratio of 2.16 (136 assists against 63 turnovers in 879 minutes) is second in the SEC ... According to the March 2 NCAA statistics, Watson's 5.3 assists ranked 44th in the nation ... Five times this season he has had a game with eight or more assists ... Tennessee is 10-2 when Watson has six or more assists in a game this season ... As a true freshman last season he led the SEC in minutes played (35.8 mpg) while leading the league with 5.44 assists per game against conference opponents ... His 160 assists as a rookie ranked seventh on UT's single-season charts and were the second-most ever by a freshman.

Watson Can Score Too
Although he usually looks to pass first, Watson has also found opportunities to score ... While ranking second in the SEC with 5.23 assists per game, he ranks third on the team with 11.7 points per game ... He has also established himself as a deep threat by leading the team in 3-point percentage (.416) and ranking second in 3-pointers made (42).

Watson Flirts With Triple-Doubles
Sophomore point guard C.J. Watson has flirted with history two times in SEC action this season ... In the SEC opener against Georgia (1/7/04) the Las Vegas native nearly became the first Tennessee player in history to record a triple-double ... He finished the game with nine points, eight rebounds and nine assists ... Against Vanderbilt (1/14/04) he came close with a career-high 13 rebounds, 11 points and seven assists... This year isn't the first time he has come close to a triple-double.

McFadgon Challenging Free Throw Records
Scooter McFadgon's 90.6 percent (125-of-138) shooting from the free throw line this season ranks as the second-best percentage in Tennessee history ... Bill Justus, who led the nation with a 92.0 percent (133-of-147) success rate during the 1968-69 season, currently holds the school record.

McFadgon Leads The SEC, Ranks Third Nationally In Free Throw Percentage
Scooter McFadgon gets mad when he misses a free throw, calling free throws "the easiest baskets you'll ever get." ... The junior guard hasn't gotten mad very often this season as he is leading the SEC by making 90.6 (125-of-138) free throws this season ... According to the March 2 NCAA statistics he ranked third in the nation with a 92.5 free throw percentage ... Two times (vs. Kentucky Jan. 20 and vs. Auburn Feb. 28) this season he has gone 13-of-13 from the free throw line ... He saw a streak of 32 consecutive free throws made come to an end against Louisville (1/25/04) ... He also had a streak of 27 consecutive free throws made until a miss against UNC Asheville 12/30/03) ... The school record for consecutive free throws made is 39 by Danny Schultz (12/2/63 - 12/28/63) and Michael Brooks (1/30/85 - 3/6/85).

Scooter Scores Big
Playing his first season of SEC basketball, Scooter McFadgon has taken the league by storm ... The Memphis transfer ranks third in the SEC in scoring with 18.1 points per game this year ... His 38.4 percent 3-point shooting ranks seventh in the league while his 2.32 treys per game is fifth ... He has scored 20 or more points 11 times and 30 or more points three times ... Against ninth-ranked Kentucky (1/20/04) he scored a career-high 33 points, scoring 19 of the Vols' first 24 points against the Wildcats ... The junior guard had a memorable debut in a Tennessee uniform with a 31-point outing against Wofford (11/21/03) ... His 31 points were the most in a UT debut since Bernard King scored 42 against Wisconsin-Milwaukee (11/30/74) ... In the SEC opener he matched that mark with a 31-point effort against Georgia (1/7/04).

McFadgon Gets 1,000 Career Points
Junior transfer Scooter McFadgon scored his 1,000th career point against Georgia Tech (2/7/04) ... He has scored 1,127 points in his three years playing college basketball ... The 6-foot-5 guard scored 674 points in two seasons at Memphis and has scored 453 points in his first season at Tennessee.

The Jemere Hendrix Experience
Saying that he would rather have 20 rebounds than score 20 points in a game because "anyone can score 20 points but not many can get 20 rebounds," Jemere Hendrix has been a presence on the boards this season ... A transfer from Clemson, the 6-foot-8 Hendrix is second on the team and 13th in the SEC with 6.5 boards per game ... He is averaging 2.85 offensive rebounds per game to rank sixth in the SEC ... He recorded a career-high 14 rebounds against 11th-ranked Mississippi State (1/28/04) ... Against 15th-ranked Georgia Tech he brought in a career-high nine offensive rebounds ... Defensively he has given the Vols another boost ... He held Preseason SEC Player of the Year Matt Freije to just eight points on 2-of-12 shooting and two rebounds on Jan. 14.

Crump Making His Presence Felt
With each year at Tennessee, Brandon Crump has steadily improved his play ... The Houston, Texas, native owns one of the best shooting percentages in the SEC, currently ranking fifth in the league with a 55.6 field goal percentage ... According to the March 2 NCAA statistics, Crump's 55.8 field goal percentage ranked 38th in the nation ... He ranks 14th in the SEC in scoring (14.8 ppg) and is seventh in rebounding with 7.0 boards per game ... The 6-foot-10 forward has scored 20 or more points in six games after not reaching the 20-point mark in his first two seasons at Tennessee ... He has eight double-doubles on the season and 11 in his career ... He has steadily improved his averages from 7.1 points and 4.2 rebounds as a freshman to 11.0 points to 5.9 rebounds as a sophomore to 14.8 points and 7.0 rebounds as a junior this year.

Crump Doubles Up
Junior forward Brandon Crump has recorded eight double-doubles this season ... That is the most by a Vol since Steve Hamer recorded nine double-doubles during the 1995-96 season ... Crump's eight double-doubles are the tied for third-most in the Southeastern Conference this season ... His five double-doubles in SEC action are third-most in the league.

King A Finalist For The Basketball Hall Of Fame
Former Tennessee Vol Bernard King (1975-77) has been named one of 16 finalists for this year's Basketball Hall of Fame class ... A three-time All-America selection, King averaged 25.8 points per game in his three seasons at Tennessee ... The Brooklyn, N.Y., native went on to score 19,655 career points in 14 seasons in the NBA ... A four-time NBA All-Star, he led the league in scoring with 32.9 points in 1984-85 and finished his career with a career scoring average of 22.5 points ... Playing for the New Jersey Nets Nets, Utah Jazz, Golden State Warriors, New York Knicks and Washington Bullets he scored 19,655 career points ... The new members will be announced April 5 at the NCAA men's Final Four in San Antonio; induction is September 10.

Houston Named To ESPN's Silver Anniversary All-SEC Team
Former UT standout and current New York Knicks star Allan Houston was named to ESPN's Silver Anniversary All-SEC Team at halftime of its telecast of the Tennessee-Kentucky game Jan. 20 ... The second-leading scorer in Southeastern Conference history, Houston scored 2,801 career points while playing for the Vols (1989-93) ... Joining Houston on the team were Chris Jackson (LSU), Chuck Person (Auburn), Jamal Mashburn (Kentucky) and Shaquille O'Neal (LSU) ... Celebrating its 25th season of covering college basketball, ESPN listed its top-five players from each major conference over the last 25 years (since the 1979-80 season) ... The teams were chosen by a seven-member panel of SEC media and league representatives.

Gamecock Anthem Top Stories