USC Set To Face-Off Against A Needy LSU Squad

The University of South Carolina Gamecocks will take on the LSU Tigers with the hopes of improving their seeding in the Big Dance. But there are also a number of other stats/milestones on the line when the Gamecocks take the court in Round Two ...

Depending upon how many teams from the SEC the NCAA selection committee decides to invite, Round Two will have major implications for several schools hoping to strengthen their NCAA bid chances.

South Carolina, 22-9 and 8-8 in the SEC, defeated Arkansas 91-81 in the First Round of the SEC Tournament in Atlanta, Ga., on Thursday and will now advance to to play LSU at 3:15 pm on Friday, March 12. The game will be televised on Jefferson-Pilot with Tom Hammond calling the action and Larry Conley acting as the color analyst. A win by the Gamecocks would improve their NCAA seeding.

The first meeting between the two schools this season resulted in a 61-55 Gamecock win over the Tigers in Columbia on Jan. 24, 2004. The only time the two played in the SEC Tournament USC defeated LSU 85-76 in New Orleans in 1996.

LSU, 18-9 and 8-8 in the SEC, is the second seed from the SEC Western Division.

Seventh-year head coach John Brady coaches the Tigers. LSU was 21-11 last year with an 8-8 SEC record, advancing to the NCAA Tournament. They return two starters and eight letterwinners.

A few good notes FROM THE ARKANSAS GAME

* The 91 points are the most scored by USC ever in an SEC Tournament game. The previous was 87 against Ole Miss on 3-7-98. It is also the most points scored by USC this season and it marks the second time this season that USC has scored 90 or more in a game. (Alabama,90 on 2-4-04)

* The 52 points in the second half is just one point shy of the most scored in a half by a Carolina team in an SEC Tournament game. (53 vs. Ole Miss 3-7-98)

Highs And Lows

* Arkansas scored the most points ever against the Gamecocks in the second half of the SEC Tournament (63) and the lowest ever in the first half (18). The previous high in a tournament game against USC was 46 by Arkansas on 3-8-96 and Kentucky on 3-8-98. The previous low was 22 by Alabama on 3-7-97.

* The 50 free throws attempted is the most ever by a South Carolina team in the SEC tournament. (47 vs. Ole Miss 3-7-98). The 39 made tied the most in a SEC Tournament game for USC and that was also against Ole Miss on 3-7-98. The 39 free throws made is the tied for the fourth most in a game in the schools history.

* The 50 free throws attempted is also a season high for the Carolina team this season. The previous season high was 32 against Gardner-Webb on 11/17/03.

* The 32 points scored by Boynton is the most for a USC player since BJ McKie scored 37 against Mississippi on 3-7-98. Boynton also knocked down 5-three pointers which is the most by any South Carolina player in a SEC Tournament game.

* The double-double by Tarence Kinsey is the first of his career.

Advancing

Since 1996, USC has played in the second round of the SEC Tournament seven of the last nine years with the Gamecocks advancing to the finals in 1998 before falling 56-86 to Kentucky in the finals. USC exited in the first round in 1999 and 2003 with both losses coming at the hands of Ole Miss.

The last time USC advanced to the semi-finals was in 2002, under Odom, when the Gamecocks defeated Ole Miss and Kentucky before falling to Alabama 57-65 in the semi-finals (One of the worst officiated games in the history of the SEC Tournament.).

USC vs. LSU

USC has won four of the last five games against LSU in Columbia. LSU is one of two teams in the SEC that Carolina has a winning overall series record with. USC is 10-6 against LSU and is 19-15 against Vanderbilt. USC is either at .500 or below against the remaining SEC schools.

Hungry for some more Tigers

This is the third set of Tigers that USC has played this year. (Auburn, Clemson, LSU) The Gamecocks have won all three of those games. (Knock on wood.)

Odom in conference tournaments - winning record in the SEC Tournament.

Gamecock third-year head coach Dave Odom is 12-13 in his career in conference championship tournaments. He was 0-1 while at East Carolina, losing in the 1982 ECAC-South Tournament. He went 9-10 in the Atlantic Coast Conference Tournament, with Wake Forest winning the 1995 and 1996 titles and his Demon Deacon teams advancing to at least the semifinals five times.

He has a 3-2 record in the SEC Tournament. His first season he saw the Gamecocks make the semi-finals of his first SEC Tournament, posting a 2-1 record. Last year USC fell in the first round to Ole Miss.

Gamecocks vs. conference tournaments

South Carolina is 11-12 all-time in the SEC Tournament, with four semifinal and one finals appearance in 13 seasons (complete details to the left). All-time, South Carolina is 36-54 in conference championship tournaments, going 10-18 in the Southern Conference classic (1922-52), 13-17 in the Atlantic Coast Conference Tournament (1953-71), and 3-8 in the Metro Conference Tournament (1983-91). Carolina captured the 1933 SoCon and 1971 ACC tourney titles.

Gamecocks vs. their side of the bracket

The Gamecocks bracket in the SEC Tournament is composed of Arkansas, Auburn, Georgia, Kentucky and LSU. The Gamecocks were 4-3 against those six teams in the regular season. The Gamecocks lost twice to the Wildcats while losing once to Arkansas. RPI rankings: Arkansas No. 105, LSU No. 32, Kentucky No. 3, Auburn No. 69 and Georgia No. 51. Two of the three losses came on the road.

Inching up

Mike Boynton, Jr. is in USC's all-time top 10 for games played with 122 - he needs to play in one more game to tie the school record for games played. He is currently sitting at No. 3, tied with Bud Johnson and Herbert Lee Davis. He is also inching up the list for career steals with 113 and is No. 10 on the school's all-time top 10 list.

With Rolando Howell's career ended due to a fractured wrist, Carlos Powell will most likely be the next Gamecock to score 1000 career points. Powell has scored 970 points in his career thus far. With the exception of the last four games prior to his scoring 15 against Kentucky and the game at Tennessee, he has scored in double figures in every game this season.

Rolando Howell was just 30 points from the 1,000 point club mark as he had scored 970 points in his career. Howell needed five more blocks to hit the top 10 in all-time blocks.

Player Career Category Player Stat Record or place

Mike Boynton, Jr. Games Played 122 123/1st (121/T5th)

Mike Boynton, Jr. Steals 113 112/10th

Rolando Howell Blocks 72 76/10th

Rolando Howell Points 960 1000/41st

Carlos Powell Points 970 1000/41st

Turnover, Rebounds - in the bonus

This season, USC has turned the ball over a total of 412. Seven times this season they have had their turnover total at 10 or less, including the nine vs. LSU. During the 2002-03 season, USC accomplished this feat only four times.

Last season USC was out-rebounded or equaled their opponents total 19 times. The Gamecocks went 5-14 in those 19 games. This season, Carolina has been out rebounded or equaled the opponents a total of 16 times. USC is 13-4 in those 17 games.

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. Last year he led the team with 12.6 ppg and 4.3, good for fourth on the team.

Another 20 points or less

This season there have been 10 halves where USC's defense has kept opponents to 20 or less points. In fact, Georgia scored the lowest amount in a half vs. the Gamecocks on Feb. 28 when they tallied just 16 points, making no field goals after the 10:25 mark in the second half.

They are as follows: 1. 18 by Navy in the second half on Nov. 21, 2003; 2. The Citadel scored 18 in the first half and 3. 20 in the second half on Dec. 3, 2003; 4. Charleston Southern scored 18 in the first and 5. 18 in the second on Dec. 17, 2003; 6. South Carolina State scored 18 points in the first half on Dec. 22, 2003; 7. Yale scored 20 in the first half on Dec. 30, 2003; 8. Auburn scored 19 points in the second half on Jan. 14, 2004; 9. Georgia scored 16 points in the second half on Feb. 28, 2004; and 10. Arkansas scored 18 points in the first half on March 11, 2004.

Last year, there were only two halves where Carolina held opponents to 20 points or less scoring. (19 by Temple in first half on Dec. 2, 2002 and 15 by Ole Miss in the first half on Jan. 8, 2003).

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