"Since then roles have somewhat reversed. Now they are sitting there with six straight loses. The obvious question is what is going to keep them from beating us here? If you look at the recent history the home team has not been that successful. The visiting team has won the past three.
"In my way of thinking it is time to stop that. If we are to win tomorrow night's game I think the key is our defense. We have to establish ourselves early and get out of the box early and that is one of the things we have been able to do as of late in the Carolina Center. If we do that, then I think we can build on that as we go along and win the basketball game, but it is not gong to be an easy task.
"I would characterize Vanderbilt as a dog that has been injured. It goes in a corner and coils itself and protects itself with all its might and I feel that is the way that Vanderbilt is going to be.
"We have played two very difficult basketball games on the road against excellent basketball teams, neither of which we played well in so I feel we have got to get our game back and I think tomorrow is the time to do that.
What about Brian Thornton?
"Yes, he gave us problems last time in the first half, but we made adjustment and were able to slow him down as the game went on. In the first half they got him the ball at will and he did what he wanted to do with it. We worked hard in practice yesterday on trying to keep the ball out of the post and we will do so again today. He is a big-bodied person who really understands how to work the post and knows what to do when he gets the ball in his hands."
Have you guys talked about trying to put together a run to end the season?
"Yes, we talked about that. This season is not over. The great thing about college basketball is there is always hope until it's over. We still have three games left and there is a lot we can accomplish between now and the end of the regular season.
"I feel with everything that has gone on this season if we can finish the season strong and win six-league games then I feel it will be a successful season for this team. We have taken on all comers and there is some value in that you know where you want to be and you know whom you have to beat to get there and it gives you a good indication of what you have to do. It is not time to toss in the towel and if we keep working then we can get better because things can change quickly."
Do feel there will be a let down if you go back to the NIT?
"One thing you can say about this team is they are resilient. I have asked them to respond time and time again and they have done so. I expect them to respond again. I am going to push them.
"I have had maybe two or three years when I lost the team. By that I mean they didn't quit playing, I just felt like they quit listening. I feel yesterday was a good day back from a bad day's practice. When there is no pressure on you and you are winning practice runs smoothly, but when you are fighting for your life you can feel the pressure everyday and its tough."
Any update on Chris Warren's Condition?
"Chris did not practice yesterday. There was a noticeable limp yesterday. He has really looked after the rehab and is listed as able to practice today as tolerated. We will see after practice and evaluate it from there. We will try and get him a good 45 minutes and then get him out of there. We need him for the rest of our games."
Gamecocks Host Vanderbilt on Saturday at 5 pm at The Carolina Center
Feb. 28, 2003
South Carolina will host Vanderbilt on Saturday, March 1 for a 5:06 p.m. tip-off on SEC-TV. South Carolina has won the last five of six against the Commodores.
USC defeated Vanderbilt Feb. 8, 84-72, propelling the Gamecocks onto a four-game winning streak. Carolina was led by Chuck Eidson, who gathered 18 points, while Kerbrell Brown and Carlos Powell both pulled down a team-high six rebounds a piece. The Gamecocks had season highs at Vanderbilt in points scored (84), field goals made (31), field goal percentage (59.6%) and three point percentage (63.6%). They also held Vandy to an opponent low for the season with 22 rebounds.
Both teams are hungry for a win, with the two coming off of losses in their mid-week games.
USC lost at No. 4 Florida, 96-63, on Tuesday. In the loss at Florida, USC saw the Gators score an Odom-high for an opponent with 96 points. It was the most a team had scored against USC since 2000 (UNC Charlotte defeated USC 98-77 Dec. 2, 2000).
USC, 11-13 and 4-9 in the SEC, holds the series edge over the Commodores, 16-15. Dave Odom is 4-3 against Vandy with VU Head Coach Kevin Stallings coming to Columbia with a 2-5 record against the Gamecocks.
Vanderbilt is 10-14 and 3-10 in SEC play. The Commodores have suffered on the road this season and come to Carolia with an 0-9 road record. Vanderbilt lost to Arkansas on Wednesday, 60-50. Arkansas, 0-8 on the road this season, hadn't won an SEC road game since they defeated Auburn to begin last season's SEC slate.
The Vanderbilt game will be televised on SEC-TV to a regional audience. Preston Scott and Barry Booker will make the call from Columbia.
The Vanderbilt game will also be carried on the radio airwaves by the Gamecock Sports Network. Charlie McAlexander (play-by-play) and Casey Manning (color) will call the action on more than 25 stations in the Palmetto State and world-wide on the internet at www.uscsports.com.
The Vanderbilt-Carolina game on Saturday is Carolina's 13th television appearance this season. USC is 5-7 record on television in 2002-03, but 5-1 at home.
Historically, USC is 256-228 in televised games overall, including 179-73 in home contests.
still up there
Carlos Powell has been a member of the SEC's top 20 scorers all season long. Currently, the sophomore sits at No. 19 with 12.7 ppg. Rolando Howell has also been a member of the SEC overall rebound leaders and is tied at No. 13 with 6.0 rpg. Chuck Eidson is in the top five of three SEC overall categories this week. Eidson is No. 2 in the SEC in free throw percentage (82.3%), No. 2 in steals (2.1 spg) and No. 5 in assists (4.5 apg).
In overall SEC games, the Gamecocks are No. 2 in turnover margin (+2.7) and No. 2 in steals (8.7 pg).
former gamecocks help w/ coaches vs. cancer
Former Gamecock football players and NFL greats Duce Staley (7-year NFL veteran with the Philadelphia Eagles) and John Abraham (two-time Pro Bowler with the New York Jets) will shoot three pointers. But the real ringers are former basketball players Jamel Bradley and Dr. Martha Parker-Hester. All four will participate in a three-point shootout. Bradley is the career leader in three pointers at USC.
The total number of shots they make will be added to the Gamecocks' game total. All proceeds from the shooting contests throughout the evening and the silent auction will benefit the American Cancer Society.
score 70, lead at halftime
This season USC is 6-1 when scoring 70-79 points, with its lone loss coming at the hands of the Gators (75-77 on Jan. 18). On the flip side, when USC scores less than 70, the Gamecocks are 3-12 with its only wins coming against Temple (66-47), The Citadel (66-50) and Mississippi (55-49).
Another fact, when USC goes into the lockerrroom at halftime with the lead, they are 10-3. When they go in down, they are 1-10. This seems to be a trend in the SEC, as SEC teams taking the lead to the lockerroom at halftime are 154-28 and 23-75 when losing at halftime.
hammering towards 825 career games
USC Head Coach Dave Odom coached in his 500th (currently 311-202) career game as a head collegiate coach against Mississippi. Overall, as both a college head and assistant coach, he has coached in more than 800 games (823) over a 27 year span.
Prior to coaching on the collegiate ranks, Odom was a high school basketball coach for 11 years (Goldsboro, Durham High Schools). During that span, he was also a head football and head baseball coach for a period of time, overseeing two future Major Leaguers on the diamond.
Kerbrell Brown suffered a displaced septum when he took a Jarod Gerald-elbow to the nose during the Arkansas win. Brown has been fitted to wear a special mask that will protect his nose better. Brown said Thursday he felt like Jason from the movie 'Halloween' with the mask on. It's white, not clear plastic like the previous mask he wore.
its tough out there
To end the season, South Carolina plays three of its last five SEC games against top 25 teams: at No. 4 Florida and a home and home with No. 21 Georgia.
Dating back to the Jan. 11th match-up at Kentucky and finishing with the 'Cats at home on Feb. 1, USC played five games out of six against teams ranked in the nation's top 25 - including three games against those in the top 10.
USC is 0-7 against teams ranked in the top 25 this year.
no cupcakes here
Think the SEC just plays cupcakes in its non-conference schedule? Not so. In CollegeRPI.com's top 10 rankings of strength of schedule, five are from the SEC: Georgia (1), Arkansas (3), Vanderbilt (7), Alabama (9) and South Carolina (10). South Carolina's schedule has been in the top 10 most of the season.
USC is ranked No. 68 in the recent RPI and No. 78 in the latest Sagarin rankings. Kentucky is ranked No. 2 in the Sagarin rankings and No. 4 in the RPI poll.
Many national media consider the SEC the top conference this year and the numbers are showing it. The SEC is tops in the country in non-conference RPI (.5941) and overall RPI (.5919).
The SEC's strength of schedule is first in the country (.5355) and No. 1 in Sagarin rankings (central mean: 83.82; simple average: 83.95).
pretty and lucky
With The Carolina Center receiving rave reviews from both the competition and media, the Gamecocks have made it a nice nest for them as well. The men's team is 10-3 in its new confines. Combined with the women's record of 14-2, the building has a record of 24-5. Both the men's and women's teams were undefeated in non-conference play this year, including wins against both Clemson teams at home.