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Throwback Thursday: Sterling Sharpe

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Throwback Thursday - the great Sterling Sharpe! The All-American and 2013 College Football Hall of Fame nominee had 169 catches, 2,497 receiving yards, and 17 touchdowns in his Gamecock career. His 1986 season sat atop the Carolina record books for nearly 20 years until Sidney Rice in 2005 and he remains third in program history in career yardage, surpassed only recently by Kenny McKinley and Alshon Jeffery. He went on to seven standout seasons with the Green Bay Packers, his NFL career cut short by injury. He now appears as a TV analyst and has partnered with Coach Spurrier the past several years in the Chick-fil-A Bowl Challenge golf tournament (even winning the tourney in 2008 and 2009!) Forever To Thee, Sterling Sharpe!


Throwback Thursday - Sterling Sharpe.jpg



Sterling Sharpe

This Week's Home Events: Baseball Hosts Texas A&M

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THIS WEEK IN GAMECOCK COUNTRY...

After a tough weekend vs. Arkansas, the baseball team will look to regroup on the road tonight at College of Charleston before returning home this weekend to take on Texas A&M. The three-game series will start on Thursday with that game airing live on ESPNU as the SEC Baseball Game of the Week. Men's Tennis will host two conference foes after sweeping Auburn and Alabama this past weekend. Students have two tailgate opportunities - a Student Life tailgate before the baseball game on Thursday and free food at men's tennis on Friday.



Thursday, March 28, 2013

#14 Baseball vs. Texas A&M - 7:30 PM
-    Baseball Bingo
-    Team Posters
***Student Life pregame tailgate for Gamecock students outside of gate 2 at Carolina Stadium! Free food and refreshments - 5:30 - 7:30 PM


Friday, March 29, 2013

#34 Men's Tennis vs. #54 Arkansas - 5:00 PM
-    Team Posters
***Free food for students! Get there early and get a free food voucher (while supplies last) good for a hot dog and drink at the beautiful Carolina Tennis Center!

#14 Baseball vs. Texas A&M - 7:00 PM
-    Baseball Bingo
-    Team Posters
***McDonald's free sample size McCafe Frozen Strawberry Lemonade available outside of Gate 1 while supplies last! Ronald McDonald will be on hand to throw out the first pitch.


Saturday, March 30, 2013

#14 Baseball vs. Texas A&M - 1:30 PM
-    Baseball Bingo
-    Team Posters


Sunday, March 31, 2013

#34 Men's Tennis vs. #48 LSU - 1:00 PM
-    Team Posters

Spurs Up Daily Round-Up: 3/20

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Catch up on the day's buzz about the Gamecocks! In today's edition: Baseball wins 9-5 over The Citadel; Baseball's SEC home opener against Arkansas this weekend; Football resumes Spring practice; Swimming & Diving sends 5 Gamecocks to compete in NCAA Men's Championships; Today's Fan Photo of The Day; And more!



GAMECOCKSONLINE.COM NEWS


Baseball: Baseball Earns 9-5 Win At The Citadel

Softball: Page's Triple Leads Gamecocks to 2-1 Win at Campbell

Women's Basketball: Walker, Welch Tabbed All-SEC by Associated Press

Football: Patrick Davis to Perform at Spring Game

Football: Gamecocks Return to the Practice Fields Tuesday

Swimming & Diving: Five Gamecocks To Compete At NCAA Men's Championships

Volleyball: Julie Darty Named to AVCA's



COCK A DOODLE TWEET


Come see Gamecock Baseball this weekend as they have their SEC home opener against Arkansas!

Another win tonight. Gotta like the way the bats are starting to match the play on the mound. Arkansas this weekend #Gamecocks

-- Justin Hall (@hall_justin) March 20, 2013



SPURS UP BLOG HIGHLIGHTS

This Week's Home Events: Baseball SEC Home Opener

Facebook Fan of the Week: Max Vaughn

"Inside The Chart" with Andy Demetra (@GamecockRadio) - The Year In Review



VIDEO OF THE DAY

South Carolina Football Winter Workout Highlights - 2013




ROOSTER CROWS

Fifth ranked South Carolina belted three home runs and freshman left-hander Jack Wynkoop allowed just two runs on five hits in 5.1 innings to earn his fourth win of the year as the Gamecocks defeated The Citadel 9-5 at Riley Park in front of 5,838 fans on Tuesday evening. The Gamecocks improved to 18-3

South Carolina senior guard Ieasia Walker earned a spot on the Associated Press' All-SEC Second Team, the organization announced today. Sophomore forward Aleighsa Welch was tabbed a league honorable mention.



FAN PHOTO OF THE DAY

Today's Fan Photo of The Day is a great group tailgating picture from the South Carolina vs. Tennessee game sent to us from Janice Jones.




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Send in your own fan photo submissions to GamecockAthletics@gmail.com. Include your name and any back story. Some of the best submissions include Gamecock gear and showing your spurs!

This Week's Home Events: Baseball SEC Home Opener

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THIS WEEK IN GAMECOCK COUNTRY

Baseball opened SEC play on the road last weekend, taking a 2-1 series win over Missouri and returns home to Carolina Stadium this weekend in a three game series vs. Arkansas. Track & Field hosts their annual Weems Baskin Invitational this weekend, while Women's Tennis faces both Auburn and Alabama at Carolina Tennis Center.


Friday, March 22, 2013
               
Track & Field Weems Baskin Invitational - 12:00 PM - Weems Baskin Track
-    Team posters available
-    Students bring your CarolinaCard to earn points for Gamecock Student Rewards!

#49 Women's Tennis vs. #18 Auburn - 5:00 PM - Carolina Tennis Center
-    Team posters available
               
#5 Baseball vs. #21 Arkansas - 7:30 PM - Carolina Stadium
-    Baseball Bingo
-    Team Posters


Saturday, March 23, 2013
               
#5 Baseball vs. #21 Arkansas - 3:15 PM
-    Baseball Bingo
-    Team Posters

Track and Field Weems Baskin Invitational - 10:00 AM - Weems Baskin Track
-    Team Posters
-    Students bring your CarolinaCard to earn points for Gamecock Student Rewards!


Sunday, March 24, 2013
               
#49 Women's Tennis vs. #8 Alabama - 1:30 PM
-    Team posters available

#5 Baseball vs. #21 Arkansas - 1:30 PM
-    Team posters available
-    Baseball Bingo


1075 the game logo.jpgTune in to "Inside the Roost" tonight from 7-8 p.m. on 107.5 The Game! Joining host Derek Scott as tonight's guests are: Samie Garcia from the softball team to discuss the opening series in the new stadium; Associate Head Coach Lisa Boyer will join us once the women's basketball team finds out who, when and where they are playing in the NCAA Tournament; and Brainard Cooper will tell us about the life of an Athletic Trainer as he deals with multiple injuries to the baseball team.

Did you know it's National Athletic Training Month? Thank you to all our Athletic Trainers who provide great medical care for our student-athletes.

Listen to "Inside the Roost" every Monday from 7-8 p.m. on 107.5 The Game for weekly insights into Gamecock Athletics and special guests. You can also listen online!  

Facebook Fan of the Week: Max Vaughn

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Check out this week's Facebook Fan of the Week winner! Max Vaughn of Prosperity, SC, uploaded this picture of her son with the following caption:

"This is my 19 month old son Max. He has been a Gamecock since birth and is actually a Gamecock Club Member. On the ride home from daycare while mommy was listening to the Carolina/Clemson baseball game and shouting Go Gamecocks, Max yelled his first GAMECOCKS and was clapping. Its great to be a little Gamecock also."


Max Vaughn- FOTW.jpg








Want to be the next Facebook Fan of the Week? Sign up on the Fan of the Week tab on our Facebook page, upload your photo and story, then share and get your friends to vote! Winners are selected each Friday and featured here and on GamecocksOnline.com.

 

 

Inside The Chart.pngWell friends, we've reached the end of our third season of "Inside The Chart," our weekly broadcast blog on Gamecocks Online.  Preparation is at the heart of what we do, and whether a game turns into a blowout or an instant classic, we want to make every broadcast informative, entertaining, and memorable.

 

That often leads me on some strange twists and turns through the Internet wormhole.  Or, when I'm looking at stats, I'll discover a "fish," some hidden number that offers a clue to the game.  Our access to the players and coaches also gives us a cache of memorable quotes.

 

With another season behind us, it's time to look back at the best of the best, the strangest of the strange, and the most random of the random.  Enjoy our first annual "Year In Charts" from "Inside The Chart":

 

The Frank Martin Section

After a year of working with him on "Carolina Calls" and post-game radio interviews, one thing became clear:  Frank Martin has led one heck of a life.  Some of those stories you can find with a quick Google search.  Others we discovered for the first time.  Some of the more memorable stories from a truly captivating coach:

 

*      Martin had an uncredited role in the football movie "Any Given Sunday" starring Al Pacino and Jamie Foxx.   Martin played the Miami Sharks' offensive line coach during football scenes filmed in Homestead, Fla.    

 

*      Martin said he and his friends used to sneak in to the Orange Bowl every New Year's Day.  Martin said they used the same time-honored tactic:  find the most elderly ticket taker, wait until the line got crowded, and hurdle the turnstile unnoticed.  Unfortunately, one of the Orange Bowls Martin attended was Clemson's national championship-clinching victory over Nebraska in 1982.

 

*      When they were assistant coaches at Miami Senior High School in Miami, Fla., Martin and Alabama head coach Anthony Grant attended a taping of "Sabado Gigante," the popular variety show on Spanish-language television station Univision.  Grant was chosen from the studio audience, and, to Martin's astonishment, won a car.  When the emcee, Don Francisco, began peppering him with questions on stage, Grant - whose knowledge of the Spanish language was minimal - could only utter the phrase "Que fantastico!"  The story had been kept a secret until Martin spilled the beans on "Carolina Calls." 

 

When asked about it by my colleague, "Voice of the Crimson Tide" Chris Stewart, Grant rolled his head to the sky, laughed, and said, "Who told you?"

 

*      Like Martin, Ole Miss assistant coach Sergio Rouco is a Miami native.  Their connection, though, goes well beyond a shared hometown:  Rouco coached Martin as a 12 year-old in the San Juan Bosco church league in Little Havana.  Martin's first coaching gig was as a volunteer JV assistant at Miami Senior, when Rouco was the head coach.  Rouco also led the Marinos de Anzoategui to a Venezuelan league title in 2010, where his assistant coach was Luis Carrera, the father of freshman Michael Carrera.

 

*      Martin has kept the same in-season haircut superstition for the past 20 years.  He says he gets a trim after his team finishes semester exams, and again after the last regular-season game. 

 

Martin Head.jpg*      For the last several years, Texas A&M's "Reed Rowdies" have waved a giant, oversized head of Martin to distract shooters.  After Kansas State's last game there in 2012, several A&M students autographed the head and presented it to Martin.  He still has it in his son's room.  The Reed Rowdies came prepared with a new edition this year.

 

Picture taken before South Carolina's game at Texas A&M.  The Aggies' student section, the "Reed Rowdies," rekindled their tradition of waving an oversized head of Frank Martin during free throws.

 

The "Told You So" Section

We have a rampant curiosity - okay, obsession - for numbers and patterns.  Our proudest moments of tea leaf-reading this year:

 

*      Entering the final weekend of the regular season, Georgia's Aaron Murray and Clemson's Tajh Boyd ranked #1 and #2 in the nation in quarterback efficiency.  Their combined numbers against Carolina:  40% completion percentage, 1 touchdown, and 3 interceptions.

 

Clemson quarterback Tajh Boyd getting pulled down by defensive end Aldrick Fordham.

 

 

Aldrick Fordham vs. Clemson.jpeg

 

 

*      Heading into its game against Tennessee, South Carolina had the worst fumble recovery percentage of any team in the nation with 10 or more forced fumbles (3 of 14, 21.4%).  A Jadeveon Clowney strip-sack, followed by a Shaq Wilson fumble recovery, helped seal the Gamecocks' 38-35 win.

 

*       At 6'5," freshman Michael Carrera was the shortest player in the nation to rank in the top 100 in Offensive Rebounding Percentage (13th) and Defensive Rebounding Percentage (21st).

 

*      Earlier in the week, we pointed out that Clemson ranked 101st in the nation in total defense versus FBS winning teams.  That put the Tigers alongside defenses like Arkansas (100), East Carolina (102), and Tennessee (104) - all of whom Carolina shredded.  True to form, the Gamecocks rolled up 444 yards of offense behind backup quarterback Dylan Thompson in a 27-17 win.

 

       Total Defense vs. FBS Opponents with Winning Records - Entering Week 13

       100.    Arkansas

       101.    Clemson

       102.    East Carolina

       103.    Wake Forest

       104.    Tennessee

 

*      The South Carolina-Auburn game featured a staggering 27 lead changes, the most in a Division I game this year.  Notre Dame and Louisville traded leads 26 times in their February 9 duel in South Bend, but that game lasted five overtimes.

 

*      South Carolina completed as many pass plays of 50+ yards in the first 20 minutes of the Outback Bowl (2) as Michigan had allowed all season.

 

 

The Cornbread Walker Siblings, Relatives, and Nicknames Division:

When preparing for a game, I always try to research the opposing players to find some interesting stories.  I've been awed and inspired by some of the tales I've found.

 

For some reason, though, this year's teams blessed us with an incredible array of odd names.  The Gamecocks weren't immune, either.  This year's memorable moments in nomenclature (named in honor of Kentucky Wesleyan guard Cornbread Walker):

 

 

*      Missouri wide receiver Bud Sasser has two sisters named Brandy and Tequila.

 

*      It figures that Kentucky forward Nerlens Noel, the SEC's leading freshman rebounder, has an older brother named Rodman.

 

*      Mississippi State freshman guard Craig Sword has a nickname better suited to playing for South Carolina, not against them: "Chicken."

 

*      Linebacker Shaq Wilson rarely gets called Shaq back home.  Among family and friends in Jacksonville, Fla., he's universally known as "Diesel," a play on his Dad's name, Demesio.

 

*       Missouri football has not one, but two freshmen named Mitch Hall.

 

*      A.J. Cann revealed to us that his family nickname growing up was "Ganky."  Its origins remain unclear, but Cann says it was bestowed upon him by his grandmother.

 

*      One of the most distinctive names belonged to St. John's guard Sir'Dominic Pointer.  Even more amazingly, Pointer's birth name was Dominique.  He legally changed it to Sir'Dominic.

 

The Best In Random Information

*       Gamecock wide receiver Damiere Byrd eats a pack of gummy bears before every game.

 

*      Bruce Ellington popped a tendon in his pinky finger in high school, but not on the football field.  He did it while jumping over a porch, trying to run away from a loose pit bull.  The finger still gives him occasional soreness after football games, like when he clutched an ice pack after his 5-catch, 104-yard performance against Arkansas.

 

*      Linebacker Quin Smith says he plays hard thanks to a traumatic incident he had as an eight year-old.  Smith needed 68 stitches (at least - his Dad stopped counting past then) on his arms when he ran through a glass door at the home of a friend.  One piece of glass came within an inch of severing his main artery.

 

*      Assistant coach Matt Figger lived in an empty room in a warehouse in his first year as an assistant at Vincennes University, a junior college in Vincennes, Ind.  It was one of many Spartan conditions to which Figger subjected himself as he chased - and realized - his dream of becoming a major-college basketball coach.

 

*      In a nod to casual wear, St. John's Steve Lavin and his staff wear sneakers on game day.  Apparently, the fashion statement even extends to the priests.

 

Priest Air Force Ones.jpg Picture taken at. John's, even the priests get stomping in their Air Force Ones.   

 

The Year In Quotes:

Our best collection of quotes from "Inside The Charts" and pre-game interviews:

 

*       "They want to go like Ricky Bobby.  They want to go fast."

-Assistant coach Matt Figger, on Arkansas' tempo. 

 

*       "I was actually about seven years old.  The guy that I hit was one of my good friends.  I felt good doing it.  It was just a feeling I couldn't explain."

-Safety D.J. Swearinger, discussing when his love for hard hitting began.  For the record, Swearinger and his tackling guinea pig remain friends.

 

*       "A guy stopped me in a truck and asked, 'Hey, are you back?'  I was like, 'Yeah, I'm good to go.'....  He then went on to say, 'How's your shoulder feel?  I said fine, though I remember thinking I haven't had a hurt shoulder.  Then he said, 'Why didn't you bring Marcus Lattimore and Dylan Thompson with you?'  That's when I knew."

-Gamecock baseball player Adam Matthews, on his resemblance - to some, at least - to Gamecock quarterback Connor Shaw.  Matthews has put up with numerous cases of mistaken identity since Shaw rose to stardom at South Carolina.

 

*         "I don't think I've even hit him in practice." 

-Connor Shaw, on his first career completion to fullback Qua Gilchrist in the Gamecocks' win over Missouri

 

*         "I tried to jump in that dumpster to burn myself along with the film, but I didn't fit in there."

-Frank Martin, when asked if Carolina's 75-36 loss to Florida qualified as a "burn the tape" game.

 

*         "If the Michigan secondary tackled as well as that chair, South Carolina wouldn't have won the Outback Bowl."

-Us on-air, after Bruce Ellington's leg got caught in a courtside folding chair during Carolina's game at Mississippi State January 9.  Play had to be stopped so Ellington could extricate himself. 

And Finally... Thanks again for supporting our radio network and everything we do.  This blog spanned about 120 pages and too many sleepless nights, but I enjoyed every minute of it.  We can't wait to go "Inside The Chart" with you again next year.  -AD-- 

Throwback Thursday: Trinity Johnson - Softball

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As we prepare to open the new Carolina Softball Stadium at Beckham Field this weekend hosting #4 Alabama, let's take a look back at one of the all-time Gamecock Softball greats for this edition of Throwback Thursday.

Trinity Johnson was inducted into the South Carolina Athletics Hall of Fame in 2004. Check out some of her impressive accolades from her 1997 senior season below. Johnson helped lead the team to the SEC Championship, SEC Tournament Championship, and a Women's College World Series berth in 1997. The 1997 team went 63-5 overall and 25-1 in the SEC.

- Softball National Player of the Year (Honda Award for softball, first ever winner for South Carolina in any sport)
- US Olympic Committee Softball Player of the Year
- Major League Players Alumni Association Fastpitch Pitcher of the Year
- SEC Female Athlete of the Year
- SEC Player of the Year (unanimous)
- First-team All-SEC
- First-team NFCA All-American (three-time winner)
- SEC Tournament Most Valuable Player


Throwback Thursday - Trinity Johnson.jpg














Have an idea for who/what you want to see featured on Throwback Thursday? Share it in the comments.

This Week's Home Events: First Home Softball Games

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THIS WEEK IN GAMECOCK COUNTRY

Softball will play their SEC opener and first games in the new Carolina Softball Stadium at Beckham Field vs. defending national champion #4 Alabama this weekend. It will be tough competition for the Gamecocks' first home games of the season, but we're all happy to be in our new home. Fans, please "pardon our mess" as the saying goes - there are still some elements of the new stadium under construction. We will have a bigger dedication ceremony later in the season for the new stadium. Advanced tickets for the three-games series are all SOLD OUT!  Women's Tennis hosts two ranked SEC foes this weekend at Carolina Tennis Center while Baseball takes on USC Upstate and Davidson in midweek games before hitting the road to the other Columbia in Missouri for their SEC opener.


Tuesday, March 12, 2013

#5 Baseball vs. USC Upstate - 7:00 PM - Carolina Stadium
-    Baseball Bingo
-    Team Posters available


Wednesday, March 13, 2013

#5 Baseball vs. Davidson - 7:00 PM - Carolina Stadium
-    Baseball Bingo
-    Team Posters available


Friday, March 15, 2013

#32 Women's Tennis vs. #44 Tennessee - 5:00 PM - Carolina Tennis Center

-    Tennis Ball Toss - each fan will receive a numbered tennis ball when they arrive and, during the break between doubles and singles matches, will attempt to toss their tennis ball from the stands into a bucket for a chance to win a free iPod Shuffle
-    Team Posters available
-    Campus Kids Day - designed to expose current and aspiring junior players (and their parents and coaches) to college tennis.  Food and refreshments will be provided by the Women's Tennis team. 

Softball vs. #4 Alabama - 7:00 PM - NEW Carolina Softball Stadium at Beckham Field - ADVANCE TICKETS SOLD OUT
-    Softball Bingo
-    Team Posters Available
-    First Pitch by the field's namesake, the Beckhams
-    Free Softball Visors while supplies last
-    Twitter Photo Contest - Follow @GamecockSoftbll and use the hashtag #BeckhamField in your tweet with your best photo from the opening series for a chance to win a game-used softball!
*First game ever in the new Carolina Softball Stadium at Beckham Field!


Saturday, March 16, 2013

Softball vs. #4 Alabama - 12:00 PM - NEW Carolina Softball Stadium at Beckham Field - ADVANCE TICKETS SOLD OUT
-    Softball Bingo
-    Team Posters Available
-    Television game -  CSS
-    First Pitch by head women's basketball coach Dawn Staley
-    Twitter Photo Contest - Follow @GamecockSoftbll
and use the hashtag #BeckhamField in your tweet with your best photo from the opening series for a chance to win a game-used softball!


Sunday, March 17, 2013 - Happy St. Patrick's Day!

#32 Women's Tennis vs. #12 Georgia - 1:30 PM - Carolina Tennis Center
-    Team Posters Available
-    Free admission

Softball vs. #4 Alabama - 1:00 PM - NEW Carolina Softball Stadium at Beckham Field - ADVANCE TICKETS SOLD OUT
-    Softball Bingo
-    Team Posters available
-    First Pitch by head football coach Steve Spurrier
-    Free St. Patrick's Day Gamecock t-shirts while supplies last
-    Twitter Photo Contest - Follow @GamecockSoftbll
and use the hashtag #BeckhamField in your tweet with your best photo from the opening series for a chance to win a game-used softball!

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Softball t-shirts



1075 the game logo.jpgTune in to "Inside the Roost" tonight from 7-8 p.m. on 107.5 The Game! Joining host Derek Scott we'll have Nolan Belcher, senior captain of the baseball team, who currently has an 18-inning scoreless streak on the mound, and former Gamecock and current Atlanta Falcon Travian Robertson to talk about the process of going from late-round draft pick to the NFL Playoffs, and what some of his former teammates need to do to make a similar transition.

Listen to "Inside the Roost" every Monday from 7-8 p.m. on 107.5 The Game for weekly insights into Gamecock Athletics and special guests. You can also listen online!  

Facebook Fan of the Week: Lauren & George Watson

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Check out this week's Facebook Fan of the Week winner! Lauren Watson of Chesterfield, SC, uploaded this picture of her son with the following caption:

"George Paisley Watson, III was born on January 30, 2013. He is a third generation Gamecock fan. He is already watching Gamecock basketball games with his dad and we hope he will be a future Gamecock!"


Lauren Watson - FOTW.jpg








Want to be the next Facebook Fan of the Week? Sign up on the Fan of the Week tab on our Facebook page, upload your photo and story, then share and get your friends to vote! Winners are selected each Friday and featured here and on GamecocksOnline.com.

 

Inside The Chart.png

 

Eric Smith got the tattoo on his chest over the summer, a prescient quote for the season ahead.

 

"Walk by faith, not by sight."

 

At 14-17 overall, 4-14 in the SEC, the Gamecocks haven't seen the wins they've wanted.  But through it all, they've maintained their faith - in the playbook, the principles, and the process under first-year head coach Frank Martin. 

 

It hasn't been easy.  But sooner or later, that faith gets rewarded.  The Gamecocks hope it begins with a spirited, season-ending run in the 2013 SEC Tournament in Nashville.  Pre-tip reads before the Gamecocks and Mississippi State (9-21, 4-14 SEC) take the floor at Bridgestone Arena for the second time in a week (7:30 p.m. EST, Gamecock IMG Sports Network):

 

The Four Factors:  What did we learn from Carolina's 79-72 win over Mississippi State Wednesday?  Pay attention to these four factors:

 

1.      The Bulldogs can run.  Mississippi State, while far from an uptempo team, has had uncommon success against South Carolina in transition.  In two games, the Bulldogs have outscored the Gamecocks 45-14 in fast-break points.  That easily surpasses their fast-break average against the rest of the SEC. 

 

Mississippi State - Fast Break Points/Total Points

Vs. South Carolina (2g):                                 35.1%

Vs. Rest of SEC (16g):                                     9.8%

 

For a team that struggles to score in the halfcourt - Mississippi State averaged an SEC-low 58.9 points per game in conference games - the Gamecocks can't allow MSU's running game to get in full locomotion.

 

 

2.       Keep the ball moving.  On January 9, Mississippi State's 1-3-1 zone frustrated Carolina into an SEC-high 24 turnovers.

 

On Wednesday, Carolina dissected that zone to the tune of 18 assists on 21 made field goals.

 

Bruce Ellington vs. Mizzou.jpegWhat was the key?  Martin said he installed a series of plays that he ran at Kansas State when the Wildcats played Oklahoma.  Like Mississippi State, OU also used a 1-3-1 zone.  Martin thought the plays may not have worked earlier in the year, given his personnel.  They generally began with a high ball screen for point guard Bruce Ellington.

 

Bruce Ellington (right) benefitted from the high ball screen against Mississippi State's 1-3-1 zone.

 

"That high ball screen against the 1-3-1 releases that top guy's pressure, so now you can reverse the ball a little bit," Martin explained afterwards. 

 

He continued:  "We tried to keep a two-guard front, and keep guys in a triangle:  foul line and [two players at the] blocks extended.  That makes that 1-3-1 kind of stay back, rather than get extended and get after you."

 

As a result, the Gamecocks got terrific ball rotation, and only committed seven turnovers by the time they broke open a 59-37 lead midway through the second half .  Carolina operated skillfully against the 1-3-1 zone Wednesday.  Can they do it twice in one week?

 

 

3.       Someone needs to replace Jalen Steele's scoring.  The Bulldogs were already cruelly short-handed when three players went down with season-ending knee injuries before the season started.  One of their few veterans, 6'8" forward Wendell Lewis, lasted eight games before a fractured kneecap required a medical redshirt.  Then on Wednesday, Steele, a lithe 6'3" guard who was tied for the team scoring lead at 9.7 points per game, tore his ACL in the second half.  While his three-point percentage hovered at 32%, Steele still commanded the top shooting reputation on the Bulldogs.

 

Craig Sword-2.jpg

 

Freshman Craig Sword (left) scored 20 points against South Carolina last week.

 

In his absence, look for freshman Craig Sword to carry an even greater scoring lead.  A "rhythm player who doesn't settle for anything" according to assistant coach Lamont Evans, the 6'4" guard led MSU with 18 points against Carolina in January, and scored a team-high 20 on Wednesday.  Freshman guard Fred Thomas may also look to assert his outside shot, and 6'8" power forward Colin Borchert, a classic "stretch four," can stroke the three-pointer.

 

 

 

4.       Offensive rebounds are there... but Carolina needs to take advantage of them.  In two games, South Carolina only managed a 34.5% Offensive Rebounding Percentage against Mississippi State, well below its season average of 38.5%.  That's odd, considering MSU ranks 322nd nationally in Defensive Rebounding Percentage - i.e., they allow gobs of offensive rebounds.

 

 

Stat of the Year?  The South Carolina-Auburn game January 12 featured 27 lead changes, the most in college basketball this year. 

 

Louisville and Notre Dame traded 26 leads when they met February 9 in South Bend - but that game lasted five overtimes.

 

Carrera vs. Kentucky.jpgGlass Eater:  Michael Carrera grabbed his first rebound 13 seconds into the season opener against Wisconsin-Milwaukee.

 

Talk about setting a tone.

 

Michael Carrera almost became the first underclassman to lead the Gamecocks in scoring and rebounding since Jimmy Foster in 1982.

 

Carrera's maniacal intensity has been a fixture all season long.  The freshman forward from Anzoategui, Venezuela, finished the regular season ranked 13th in the nation in Offensive Rebounding Percentage (OReb%), and 21st in the nation in Defending Rebounding Percentage (DReb%).  Carrera was one of two freshmen nationally to rank in the top 100 in both categories (Weber State's Joel Bolomboy is the other, but you already knew that). 

 

Michael Carrera - Rebounding Percentage*

Category              Percentage         NCAA Rank

OReb%                15.5%                13th

DReb%                24.5%                21st

 

*-Offensive Rebounding Percentage = % of a team's missed shots that are rebounded by an individual.

*-Defensive Rebounding Percentage = % of an opponent's missed shots that are rebounded by an individual.

 

At 6'5," Carrera is also the shortest player to rank in the top 100 in both categories.

 

Where There's A Will(iams), There's A Way:  Junior Brenton Williams closed the regular season by pouring in 55 points over his final two SEC games.  Several of his baskets against Vanderbilt were of the acrobatic, are-you-kidding-me variety, the nets giving an angry hiss to the Memorial Gymnasium crowd.

 

"The basket looks like a 55-gallon drum to him right now," associate head coach Brad Underwood said afterwards.

 

Underwood says Williams' activity off the ball has led to his accuracy with it.

 

"[Vanderbilt] tried bumping him off every screen, and that's what Brenton has to understand.  Teams are going to do that.  He can make shots.  He's got a knack for that.  Now he's got to learn how to do that through the physicality of the game," he said.

 

After his 38-point explosion against Mississippi State, there's little doubt the Bulldogs will plant a tracking device on Williams. Regardless of who defends him, can Williams "cut his legs," and sap Mississippi State physically with his nonstop movement?  The Bulldogs have a short bench; Williams may not repeat his 38-point performance, but he can wear the Bulldogs down for their own offensive possessions. 

 

And Finally... It's a big week for Frank Martin.  And an even bigger week for his barber. 

 

Barber Pole.jpgMartin says he has kept the same hair-cutting superstition for the past 20 years.  He gets one haircut after his team finishes winter exams, and another after their last regular-season game.

 

With the regular season over, Martin gets his long-awaited tonsorial appointment.  And with the regular season over, the Gamecocks hope to put some close shaves behind them, too.

 

Our pre-game coverage begins at 7:00 p.m. EST on the Gamecock IMG Sports Network.  It's been a great year - thank you for reading our insights, anecdotes, and scouting reports on "Inside The Chart."  We hope you enjoyed our stories as much as we enjoyed preparing them.  See you in Nashville.  -AD--


With all the regular season head to head competitions between South Carolina and Clemson complete for 2012-13, the Gamecocks have secured a win in the all-sports series for the sixth straight year. So far in 2012-13 South Carolina has beaten Clemson eight times with the Tigers coming out on top just four times. The Gamecocks have defeated the Tigers more times each year since 2007-08. In 2006-07 the two programs split at an even 7-7. Clemson has not had the edge over Carolina since the 2005-06 season.

The most recent wins over our Palmetto State rival came from Baseball and Men's Tennis this past weekend. Baseball earned a series victory over the Tigers, two games to one. On the same Sunday afternoon that Nolan Belcher pitched a complete game shutout to clinch the series with an 8-0 Carolina victory, then-No. 43 Men's Tennis upset then-No. 18 Clemson with a 4-3 victory at Carolina Tennis Center.

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The Gamecocks have now beaten Clemson in 20 of the last 28 baseball contests between the two schools dating back to the 2007 season.


Football has done its part to help the cause, bringing home a fourth-straight victory over Clemson this season. Jadeveon Clowney had 4.5 sacks in the 27-17 win, setting the single-season sack record at Carolina at 13. The win gave Coach Spurrier 65 victories at Carolina, a new school record.



 
Women's Basketball stormed past the Tigers with a 64-43 victory in November for their third consecutive win over Clemson. The South Carolina defense did not allow a Clemson field goal for the first 11 minutes of the game and never looked back in holding the Lady Tigers to 23.9 percent shooting.

In addition to Baseball, Football, Women's Basketball, and Men's Tennis, South Carolina earned victories over Clemson in Men's Soccer (a thrilling 1-0 shutout), Men's & Women's Diving (the Gamecocks swept the competition), and Volleyball (a 3-0 sweep over the Tigers in front of the 3rd-largest crowd in program history). The Gamecocks' only losses to Clemson this year came in Men's Basketball, Women's Soccer (the Gamecocks had been on a four-game winning streak), Women's Tennis, and one game in Baseball.

IT'S GREAT TO BE A GAMECOCK!!!

 

Inside The Chart.png 

Brian Steele's last basket at Colonial Life Arena came March 5, 2011.  Then a junior at Wade Hampton High School in Greenville, S.C., Steele scored 30 points and grabbed 15 rebounds to lead the Generals to a 79-68 win over Darlington in the Boys Class 3A title game. 

 

Two years and a day later, Steele got his next shot.

 

The freshman walk-on, making his second consecutive start Wednesday, scored six points and added two rebounds in the Gamecocks' 79-72 win over Mississippi State.  In one week, the 6'5," 196-pound Steele has gone from a total of five minutes of playing time to becoming a valued member of Frank Martin's rotation. 

 

Brian Steele Wade Hampton.jpgNot bad for someone who had a sprinkling of low-major and Division II offers out of high school, but preferred to follow his heart and walk on at South Carolina.

 

Freshman walk-on Brian Steele (right) averaged 17.0 ppg and 8.0 rpg as a senior at Wade Hampton HS.  (Photo courtesy:  Anderson Independent-Mail)

 

"You're either an energy giver or an energy drainer," Martin said on "Carolina Calls."  "That enthusiasm, that energy, that courage that he shows each and every day has paid off."

 

So how did Steele's transformation from walk-on to freshman SEC starter - all in the span of 10 months - take place?  It began with a phone call and a weakness.

 

"I'm always a sucker for a really good shooter," associate head coach Brad Underwood said.

 

Late last Spring, Underwood took a call from a coaching friend, raving about a deadeye shooter he had been working out individually.  Underwood was intrigued ("We got here and we were looking at everybody," he said). 

 

He took down the name - Brian Steele - and started investigating.

 

"I actually saw a YouTube, or maybe a video on him.  So I watched this.  [I thought,] this kid makes everything.  He's playing, and he's making the right passes," Underwood recalls. 

 

Steele and his father visited the staff over the summer, where he reaffirmed his desire to walk on to the team.  That passion did not go unnoticed.

 

"He was dying to be a part of the program.  That's a big part of wanting to be a walk-on.  You've got to have tremendous pride, which he does," Underwood said. 

 

Still, when Underwood oversaw walk-on tryouts in September, he offered no guarantees.  There was no "preferred walk-on" status, not even for someone who averaged 17.0 points per game and earned all-state honors his senior year. 

 

It mattered little.  Steele would separate himself quickly.

 

"We had an idea he was a pretty good player.  He was spectacular in the tryout.  It was a pretty easy decision," Underwood said.

 

As he showed Wednesday night, Brian Steele continues to make the most of his shots.

 

More pre-tip reads before the Gamecocks head to Memorial Gymnasium to face Vanderbilt (13-16, 7-10 SEC) in the regular season finale (1:30 p.m. EST, Gamecock IMG Sports Network):

 

The Four Factors:  South Carolina's first game against Vanderbilt defied most of the natural laws of basketball.  The Gamecocks shot 23.7% from the floor, their worst shooting percentage since 1998, yet still had three consecutive chances to take the lead with two minutes remaining.   So what did we learn from that 58-51 loss January 19?  Pay attention to these four factors:

 

1.)    "Turn the floor."  Vandy's guards do an excellent job of staying between the ball and the rim, and the taller Commodores repeatedly handcuffed the Gamecocks on dribble-drives.  In halfcourt sets, Eric Smith, Bruce Ellington, Brenton Williams, and Brian Richardson all struggled to finish at the rim. 

 

Eric Smith vs. Vandy.jpegCarolina's coaches often holler for their players to "turn the floor" - swing the ball quickly, so a weak-side defender gets off-balance when he meets the pass.  That opens up driving lanes, and can neutralize the size of taller backcourts.  Underwood praised Carolina for its spacing and quick passing against Mississippi State's 1-3-1 zone.  Can they "turn the floor" effectively, and duplicate that effort against the Commodores?

 

Eric Smith (right) drives against Vanderbilt January 19.  The Gamecocks struggle to finish at the rim against the Commodores' tall guards.

 

 

2.)     Vanderbilt's biggest strengths are its spacing and three-point shooting.  Outside of Florida, no team has more players capable of stroking the three than the Commodores.  With players like Kedren Johnson, Dai-Jon Parker, and Kyle Fuller good at getting to the rim, Vanderbilt can become a deadly "pick-and-pop" team in the halfcourt.  The best way to squelch that?  Defend the initial ball screen well, and close down one-on-one driving lanes so the kickout pass becomes unavailable. 

 

Vanderbilt also runs a lot of action through its "5" man at the elbow.  The Gamecocks want to "extend and deny," and force those passes to come three or four feet farther away on the floor.  That could disrupt the timing and flow of Vanderbilt's spread-floor offense.  For as good as Vanderbilt is defensively (a surprising 3rd in the SEC in Defensive Efficiency behind Florida and Alabama), they can be just an anemic offensively (last SEC, 59.5 ppg).

 

 

3.)    Be prepared for long rebounds.  Carolina grabbed a season-low 26% of its missed shots against Vanderbilt (12 of 45).  Many of those missed opportunities came on long tap-outs or "50-50 balls."  On the flip side, Vanderbilt ranks 2nd in the nation, scoring 38.9% of its points from three-point range.  The Gamecocks need to renew their intensity on the boards, and beat Vandy's perimeter players to "chase-down" rebounds.

 

 

4.)     Kedren Johnson will score.  The Gamecocks just can't give him baskets.  The Commodores' leading scorer (13.7 ppg) is a rangy, slashing guard who loves getting to the rim.  In a 66-40 loss to Florida Wednesday, Johnson ran off a streak of 13 straight points. 

 

The Gamecocks held him in check, limiting him to 0-for-6 shooting from the field.  A repeat of that performance seems unlikely.  Carolina simply needs to make Johnson earn his points - i.e., no easy layups or free throws.  

 

 

Can We Press Fast Forward?  In the last three games, South Carolina has shot 24.3% from the field in the first half against Vanderbilt.

 

First Half Shooting vs. Vandy  

Year                       FGM-FGA            Deficit

2013:                     5-29                      -5

2012:                     9-23                       0                             

2011:                     5-26                      -10

    19-78 FG  (24.3%)

 

Brenton Williams vs. Vandy.jpegPop Off:  In a post-practice shooting drill last year, Brenton Williams once made 31 straight three-pointers.  A lights-out shooting night always lurked in the 5'11" junior guard.  Wednesday night, Williams erupted for 38 points against Mississippi State, smashing his previous high of 22 points.  He also blew past his season average of 10.0 points per game coming in.

 

Brenton Williams (left) scored 38 points against Mississippi State, the most by a Gamecock since Terry Dozier in 1987.

 

How unlikely was Williams' scoring explosion?  By my research, he had the third-lowest scoring average of any player in the nation with 35 or more points in a game this season.

 

Player                                       Opponent                      PPG Entering     Points

Sam Prescott, Mt. St. Mary's      Bryant 2/14                     9.2                      44

Elijah Johnson, Kansas               Iowa State 2/25               9.1                      39

Brenton Williams, S. Carolina      Mississippi State 3/6       10.0                    38

 

*-Stats courtesy statsheet.com, mountathletics.com, and kuathletics.com

 

Defense and sure passing have kept Williams from a more secure spot in the rotation.  Martin has called Williams' practices "rock solid" over the last few weeks.  It's paying off in the form of a strong closing stretch for the Kissimmee, Fla., junior.

 

Record Chasing:  Williams has also made 17 straight free throws, raising his season average to .842.  With a few more foul trips, he could have one of the highest single-season free-throw percentages in school history among players with 100 or more attempts.

 

Highest Season Free Throw Percentage (Min. 100)

1.       Scotti Ward                      .868                      (118-136)

2.       Michael Foster                  .848                      (95-112)

3.       Mike Doyle                       .845                      (93-110)

4.       Brenton Williams               .842                      (80-95)

 

And Finally...  Vanderbilt's tallest player, 6'11" center Josh Henderson, has a connection to South Carolina not even acknowledged by the Vandy media guide.  Henderson is the great-nephew of Jim Slaughter, the Gamecocks' first basketball All-American in 1951.   Slaughter averaged 22.8 points per game during his All-American season.

 

Our pre-game coverage begins at 1:00 p.m. EST on the Gamecock IMG Sports Network. See you in Nashville.  -AD-

 

Throwback Thursday: Terry Dozier

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It's Throwback Thursday! Terry Dozier scored 1,445 points as a Gamecock from 1985-89. Last night Brenton Williams scored a career-high 38 points - the most points in a game since Terry Dozier scored 38 in an 86-85 win over Florida State in
the Metro Conference Tournament 26 years ago to the day on March 6, 1987. Terry's brother, Perry, also played for the Gamecocks, and freshman women's basketball player Asia Dozier is Perry's daughter. It's Great to be a Gamecock!!


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Throwback Thursday - Terry Dozier (1985-89)

*Bonus throwback points- with our brief research (everything on the internet is true, right?) the opponent with the awesome facial expression in the picture is Villanova great Harold Jensen.

Meaningful ROTC Contracting Ceremony at Hoops

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Fans at last week's men's basketball game vs. Missouri witnessed a special halftime. Cadets from the University of South Carolina's Army ROTC program were officially inducted into the Army during a ceremony at halftime led by LTC John Wright, who oversees the program. It was the second time for such an occasion, as the Army ROTC program also conducted a contracting ceremony at a recent men's soccer game.


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"Coach Martin has always been such a big supporter of the military so to do it here and for all he's been for the university in such a short time is great," said Wright. "Also, to have Coach Tanner out there has been great because a coach understands that the same commitment as an athlete is very similar to the commitment of these cadets too. It's just great to be here in front of these fans too because the fans get it. This is a very patriotic place and they love the military here so to be able to share this occasion with them is great."

The Army ROTC is often involved with athletics events, having helped with military-themed Opening Day presentations at baseball and passing out rally towels to fans at football games.

"These cadets take such a big responsibility on themselves and they are recognized as a big part of this university," said Wright. "The athletics department understands the commitment that they're making also. We call our cadets tactical athletes because being in the military is a lot like being an athlete. It has same demands on your body and the same requirement to physically fit so it's just the perfect fit for us."


Spurs Up Daily Round-Up: 3/6

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Catch up on the day's buzz about the Gamecocks! In today's edition: Baseball Wins 10-0 over Ball State; Men's Basketball Senior Night and final home game; Women's Basketball SEC Defensive Player of the Year; Football begins spring drills; Jackie Bradley Jr. in the pros; Today's fan photo of the day; And more!



GAMECOCKSONLINE.COM NEWS


Baseball: Baseball Earns 10-0 Win Over Ball State.

Softball:
Softball Single-Game Tickets On Sale Now; Sat., March 16 A Sellout

Men's Basketball:
Men's Hoops To Host Mississippi State On Senior Night

Women's Basketball: Walker Tops All-SEC Lists as Defensive Player of the Year

Football: Gamecocks Open Spring Drills Tuesday

Men's Golf: Gamecocks Fall One Stroke Short Of First At USF Invitational

Men's Soccer:
Gamecock Men's Soccer Holds Annual Awards Dinner

Men's Tennis: Gamecock Spotlight: In The Zone

Track & Field: Women's Track & Field Holds at No. 15 in USTFCCCA Rankings



GAMECOCKS AROUND THE WEB


Football: Spurrier: Shamier Jeffery looking like 'real player' (thetandd.com)

Football: Jadeveon Clowney runs a 4.5 40 at South Carolina (sportingnews.com)

Baseball: USC beats Ball State 10-0, Montgomery out two weeks (midlandsconnect.com)



GAMECOCKS IN THE PROS

Baseball: Is Jackie Bradley Jr. ready for Boston?  (bostonglobe.com)




COCK A DOODLE TWEET


Men's Basketball Senior Night and last home game of the season tonight against Mississippi State!







SPURS UP BLOG HIGHLIGHTS

"Inside The Chart" with Andy Demetra (@GamecockRadio) - Previewing MSU

Latest Conceptual Renderings of Future Facilities

This Week's Home Events: MBB Senior Day, BSB vs. Rider




VIDEO OF THE DAY

Get to know South Carolina Baseball sophomore Tanner English in his Gamecock Spotlight.






ROOSTER CROWS

Freshman left-hander Jack Wynkoop retired the first 16 batters he faced and was backed by an offense that pounded out 14 hits as sixth ranked South Carolina (9-2) upended Ball State (5-5) 10-0 on Tuesday evening in the first of a two-game baseball series at Carolina Stadium. It is the Gamecocks third shutout victory in the last four games. The series concludes on Wednesday afternoon with first pitch scheduled for 4 p.m.

South Carolina hosts Mississippi State on Wednesday in the final regular season home contest of the 2012-13 campaign for the Gamecocks. The night will serve as Senior Night for senior forward Lakeem Jackson, senior guard Shane Phillips and managers Josh King and Bubba Wright. Senior Night festivities will begin at approximately 6:40 p.m. The game will be broadcast on ESPN3



FAN PHOTO OF THE DAY


Today's Fan Photo of the Day is from David Weiss. This is a picture of Eric, David, and Cameron Weiss at the 2013 Outback Bowl in Tampa Florida where the Gamecocks defeated the Wolverines 33-28! Cameron is only 3 but has seen two South Carolina bowl victories in person! Go Gamecocks!


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Send in your own fan photo submissions to GamecockAthletics@gmail.com. Include your name and any back story. Some of the best submissions include Gamecock gear and showing your spurs!

 

 

Inside The Chart.pngThey honed their skills like so many kids do, on a basketball hoop standing sentinel near their house.  One was toughened up by games with his three older brothers, shaping him into a player whose hustle has always overshadowed his height.  The other practiced for hours in solitude, drawn to a sport he could practice on his own while his Dad worked long hours as a college football assistant coach.

 

Together, good friends Lakeem Jackson and Shane Phillips will make their final walks onto the Colonial Life Arena floor Wednesday, when South Carolina (13-16, 3-13 SEC) hosts the Mississippi State Bulldogs (8-20, 3-13 SEC) on Senior Day. 

 

Lakeem Dunk.jpegThey may not have envisioned a Senior Day like this, with the Gamecocks battling for the 13th seed in the SEC Tournament.  Who would?  But that's the thing about a basketball program.  Yes, you're judged by your performance in 30 games.  But there are also practices and offseason conditioning and weightlifting and study tables, a year-round commitment that leaves your imprint on a program as much as any box score.  In that respect, Jackson, the captain, and Phillips, the walk-on who spent two years as a practice player for the South Carolina women's team, feel secure in what they've left behind.

 

"We worked hard every day, so we don't have any regrets about that," Jackson, a Charlotte, N.C., native, said.

 

"They've sacrificed.  They've given of themselves to make themselves a better team, a better program. As coaches we respect that tremendously," head coach Frank Martin said.

 

But as they reflected on their careers Tuesday, Phillips stopped to give one last appeal.

 

"Get a big crowd in there.  It'll be a big night for the Gamecocks," he said.

 

Other pre-tip reads before the Gamecocks and Bulldogs jump center at Colonial Life Arena (7:00 p.m. EST, Gamecock IMG Sports Network):

 

The Four Factors:  Mississippi State comes in with renewed vigor, having just snapped a 13-game losing streak with a 73-67 win over Ole Miss.  They also have the confidence of beating the Gamecocks 56-54 in Starkville to open conference play.  What did we learn from that first meeting?  Let's go beyond the box score.  Pay attention to these four factors Wednesday:

 

 

1.     24 turnovers can't happen again.  South Carolina was worked into knots by Mississippi State's 1-3-1 zone, which resulted in an SEC-high 24 turnovers.  MSU's wing defenders "lifted" higher on the perimeter, denying easy escape-valve passes to Carolina's off-guards.  Bruce Ellington committed nine turnovers, but Martin acknowledges that only two or three of them were self-inflicted.  Most occurred because his teammates weren't spaced properly, or didn't "meet the pass" against MSU's pressure.  Similar point-to-wing passing flared up in the second half against Texas A&M.

 

MSU Steal.jpgMississippi State may only have three conference wins, but the Bulldogs will take their chances:  their 7.9 steals per game ranks 5th in the SEC.  As we've said often, a team that struggles to score - in Mississippi State's case, an SEC-low 59.7 points per game - doesn't need help.  How South Carolina manages that pressure may determine the outcome of the rematch.   

 

 

 

 

MSU guards Fred Thomas (left) and Jalen Steele (right) on a fast break following a South Carolina turnover.

 

 

 

2.      Roquez Johnson is relentless:  A tenacious offensive rebounder, the Bulldogs' 6'7" sophomore ranks among the SEC's leaders in Fouls Drawn/40 Minutes.  It was a big reason why he connected on a career-high 8 free throws against Carolina.  Johnson returned from a three-game suspension to score 10 timely points in the Bulldogs' upset over Ole Miss.

 

Freshman Michael Carrera, making his first appearance after missing two games with a hip injury, was limited to seven minutes in Starkville.  Will his presence help neutralize Johnson, a similarly bouncy, attack-minded forward?  The matchup seems tailor-made for Carrera:  both he and Johnson have 7'2" wingspans.

 

 

3.     Make MSU fall on its Sword.  Freshman guard Craig "Chicken" Sword leads the SEC in Usage Rate (29.5%), or the percentage of a team's possessions that end with an individual making a shot; missing a shot that isn't rebounded by his teammates; or committing a turnover.  Sword's head coach, Rick Ray, once said, "He just has so many more fast-twitch fibers than everyone else."

 

Including Sword, the SEC has four players that rank in the top 100 nationally in Usage Rate.  Here's how they've fared against the Gamecocks:

 

 

            Player                         FG's       Points           Assists      TO

Kedren Johnson (VU)    0-6          3                   4               4

B.J. Young (ARK)         3-12                          4               2

Frankie Sullivan (AU)     5-13       17                  5              1

Total:                          8-31 FG  (25.8%),  9.0 ppg,  4.3 apg,  2.3 TO/game

 

 

 

Roquez Johnson.jpgThe numbers show that the SEC's high-usage players have had more luck as facilitators than creators.  Bruce Ellington was the primary defender on all of them.  Sword's 9.7 points per game may be near that average, but he's also tied for the MSU scoring lead.  Can Ellington ballhawk Sword like he has the rest of the SEC's high-usage guards, and strip the Bulldogs of one of the lynchpins of their offense?

 

Mississippi State guard Craig Sword (right, defended by Michael Carrera).  Sword, a 6'3" freshman, leads the SEC in Usage Rate.

 

 

4.      Offensive rebounds are there for the taking.  The Gamecocks have slipped in the statistic lately, but their 38.6% Offensive Rebounding Percentage still ranks 18th in the country.  Mississippi State ranks 334th in the nation, allowing 37.2% of an opponent's misses to be offensive-rebounded. 

 

 

      South Carolina:  Offensive rebounds on 38.6% of missed shots  (18th NCAA)

      Mississippi St.:  Allows offensive rebounds on 37.2% of missed shots  (334th NCAA)

 

 

      South Carolina hit a sinkhole in the second half against Texas A&M, shooting 0-for-13 during a 14-0 Aggies run.  Dry spells have cost the Gamecocks in several games this year.  If they struggle to score, can they still manufacture points with a rugged effort on the glass?

 

Cruel:  MSU junior Tyson Cunningham collected his first career "block" on Ellington's game-winning three-point attempt in Starkville.  Quotation marks by design - Gamecock fans might argue that Cunningham was guilty of a foul.

 

Martin Head.jpgHead Games:  Texas A&M's "Reed Rowdies," like many college basketball student sections, wave giant cardboard heads of B-List celebrities and other famous figures.  In recent year, one of the heads they've waved in recent years is of Frank Martin, his countenance in a state of - how do we put this nicely - raised agita.  After Kansas State's last game there, when A&M was SEC-bound, several students autographed Martin's mug and presented it to him, signing it "to their favorite Big XII coach."  Martin still has it in his son's room.  He thought about bringing it to College Station, and ceremonially returning it to the Reed Rowdies.

 

Spotted at Texas A&M's Reed Arena:  Frank Martin, in giant head form.

 

And Finally... Phillips' Dad, Oliver, was the defensive coordinator at Duke from 1979-82.  The offensive coordinator of those Blue Devil teams?  A young, dashing, confident play-caller named Steve Spurrier.

 

Our pre-game coverage begins at 6:30 p.m. on the Gamecock IMG Sports Network.  See you at CLA.  -AD-

 

Latest Conceptual Renderings of Future Facilities

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Check out a slideshow of the latest conceptual renderings (note: finished product may differ from the rendering) of future facilities for Gamecock Athletics that advanced in the approval process on February 28, 2013. View below or click here to launch slideshow.

 



THIS WEEK IN GAMECOCK COUNTRY...

Men's Basketball hosts their final home game of the season Wednesday against Mississippi State at 7:00. Come on out to give a proper farewell to Lakeem Jackson, Shane Phillips, and student members of the support staff and represent your seniors with a free "face fan" while supplies last. Baseball hosts its final nonconference weekend series vs. Rider this weekend. They'll also take on Ball State twice with two midweek games after an exciting three game series vs. rival Clemson this past weekend. Men's Tennis also collected a win over our in-state rival this weekend, upsetting No. 18 Clemson 4-3. They'll go for another upset bid in their SEC opener this Friday vs. Florida at 5:00 at Carolina Tennis Center. Admission is free so be sure to swing by and check out the state of the art facility just one year old.


Tuesday, March 5, 2013

#6 Baseball vs. Ball State - 7:00 PM - Carolina Stadium
- Team posters available
*Freshman Jack Wynkoop expected to start on the mound after earning his first career win vs. Furman last Tuesday.

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

#6 Baseball vs. Ball State - 4:00 PM - Carolina Stadium
*Note game time change.*
- Team posters available

Men's Basketball vs. Mississippi State - 7:00 PM - Colonial Life Arena
-    Senior Night festivities begin at 6:45 PM
-    Senior Face fans giveaway (while supplies last)
-    Cocky's Bouncehouse
-    Free food for all Carolina students


Friday, March 8, 2013

#43 Men's Tennis vs. #16 Florida - 5:00 PM - Carolina Tennis Center
-  Tennis Ball Toss Promotion - Each fan will receive a numbered tennis ball when they arrive and, during the break between doubles and singles matches, will attempt to toss their tennis ball from the stands into a bucket for a chance to win a free iPod Shuffle!
-  Free admission and parking (Heyward St Garage)
*The Gamecocks are coming off a big upset win over #18 Clemson this past weekend - come cheer them on vs. the Gators!

#6 Baseball vs. Rider - 7:00 PM
-  Team posters available
*Final nonconference weekend series


Saturday, March 9, 2013

#6 Baseball vs. Rider - 4:00 PM
-  Team posters available


Sunday, March 10, 2013

#6 Baseball vs. Rider - 1:30 PM
-  Team posters available
-  First pitch by a member of the SC National Guard 133rd MP company


*Football also opens spring practice this week. Dates/times available here, all subject to change. The first practice on Tuesday, March 5 has been moved up to 3:00 PM in an attempt to avoid rainy weather in the forecast. Spring Football Outlook



Gamecocks on the road...

No. 17 Women's Basketball vs. Miss. State OR Alabama - SEC Tournament - Thursday, 2:30 PM - TV: SportSouth | Radio: 1320 AM
Men's Basketball at Vanderbilt - Saturday, 1:30 PM - TV: SEC Network | Radio: Gamecock IMG Sports Network affiliates

Equestrian at Kansas State - Friday, 11:00 AM
Equestrian at Oklahoma State - Saturday, 11:00 AM
Women's Tennis at Florida - Saturday, 1:00 PM
Men's Golf at USF Invitational - Sunday-Tuesday
Women's Golf at Darius Rucker Intercollegiate - Friday-Sunday
Track & Field at NCAA Indoor Championships - Friday - Saturday

Softball at USF Under Armour Showcase - Tampa and Clearwater, FL - Live stats and audio online
vs. UMass - Friday, 11:30 AM
vs. USF - Friday, 2:00 PM
vs. Northwestern - Saturday, 9:30 AM
vs. Villanova - Saturday, 11:45 AM
vs. Penn State - Sunday, 11:15 AM




1075 the game logo.jpgTune in to "Inside the Roost" tonight from 7-8 p.m. on 107.5 The Game! Joining host Derek Scott we'll have Ray Tanner to discuss last week's Board of Trustees meeting and several facilities projects that advanced in the approval process. We will also have new Sand Volleyball Head Coach Moritz Moritz on to talk about South Carolina's newest intercollegiate sport (and maybe share the story behind his name!) Also joining tonight's line-up is All-American high jumper Jeannelle Scheper to share her journey from the Carribbean to now SEC Champion and school record-holder. 

Listen to "Inside the Roost" every Monday from 7-8 p.m. on 107.5 The Game for weekly insights into Gamecock Athletics and special guests. You can also listen online!  

Facebook Fan of the Week: Colin Dugan

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Check out this week's Facebook Fan of the Week winner! Melanie Dugan of Williamston, SC, sent this picture of her son Colin Dugan. Because Colin brought $1 to school to help raise money for the American Cancer Society he was able to wear his favorite Gamecock Pajamas! Colin's teacher said the Gamecocks are her favorite too!



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Want to be the next Facebook Fan of the Week? Sign up on the Fan of the Week tab on our Facebook page, upload your photo and story, then share and get your friends to vote! Winners are selected each Friday and featured here and on GamecocksOnline.com.


WBB Seniors Reflect Before Final Home Game

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This season's trio of seniors has helped lift South Carolina women's basketball to new heights. The group owns two of the program's four 20-win seasons in the SEC era and contributed to the Gamecocks' return to the NCAA Tournament Sweet 16 for the first time since 2003. Four-year seniors Ashley Bruner and Ieasia Walker have contributed to more South Carolina victories (79) than any four-year class since the 1991-92 graduates finished with 82 wins as the Gamecocks made their SEC debut. In the last four years, the duo has helped the Gamecocks to more than one-third of the program's total SEC regular-season victories. Individually, Bruner is one of just 18 Gamecocks all-time who have collected at least 600 career rebounds. Walker is one of just 11 in South Carolina history to accumulate 1,000 career points while also handing out 200 career assists and swiping 200 career steals. Sancheon White has established herself as one of the top one-on-one defenders, routinely taking on the challenge of shutting down an opponent's top scorer to help the Gamecocks become the fourth-stingiest defense in the nation. We caught up with them this week to talk about playing their final home game at Colonial Life Arena this Sunday vs. Florida at 1:00 PM. Be sure to arrive early by 12:45 PM for the pre-game senior ceremonies and help give them a proper farewell.


BL: Fan support at home games for this team has continued to grow over the past several seasons. What does that mean to you as a player?

Ieasia: It means that we're building a tradition. I think every year since I've been here our fan based has grown and we've done better, so I think that contributes to us playing better. The fans do play a part in our home games, getting us pumped up.  I think that will also attract more talent to come here as well so, the program will keep getting better. It just helps build tradition.

Sancheon: It means a lot. It's fun to play in front of great crowds, especially our big games and the double headers with the men. 


In four years here, you have one the most successful time periods at Carolina.  What does it mean to you to leave your mark on the program and contribute to its success?

Ashley: It means a lot, especially because we got to play with great people in our four years.  Leaving this legacy behind to the girls we're playing with now, freshmen and sophomores, to see what we came from and see too how we are now, and to know that they can just get better and better over the years.

Ieasia: It feels good; it means a lot and shows that hard work pays off.  When we got here we were put through a lot, Coach Staley was really strict and would hammer us every day, but each year we got better.  So, she would lighten up and give us some leeway on certain things.  So, it shows that we're really working hard and it's starting to pay off.  I actually joke about it with the freshmen - their first year they're going to have a great record.  When I started we were below .500, so it just shows the program is getting better. The biggest thing with me is that I want to leave a great tradition, so you come back and support.  We see people that graduated a couple years come back and we have others coming back that graduated like a decade ago so it feels good to have that support. We just want to keep continuing to grow. 


What is a funny story about Coach Staley that you can share or a something about her people might not realize?

Sancheon: People who don't know her might think she looks mean or intimidating, but she's exactly the opposite. She's a big kid; she acts like us.

Ashley: :  [Laughing] probably when she always tries to grab the net. She tries to slap it but she can't get up there.  She runs full speed and tries to slap it but can never get it. ... she's kind of strong so she tries to body you and push you out of the way, and sling a shot up there.  She's violent playing around.

Ieasia: [Laughing] she'll sometimes be down here (playing basketball) screaming like a bad little kid about nothing.  We'll all be like, "Why are you screaming?" Like, when we are playing a shooting game, she'll scream every times she shoots. ... She's just like this ball of fire in this little body."


What is your favorite place on campus?

Ashley: Probably Russell House movie theater.  We used to go often, because they have really good, recent movies. 

Ieasia: I like Einstein's bagels, they're perfect. So I always try to go there before class.

Sancheon: My room...but outside of that probably the Dodie because we eat there and do homework there, all in one.



What is your favorite thing about being a student at South Carolina?

Ashley: I like the friendly atmosphere, just everyone smiling at you or saying, "hey." Also, how close classes are to each other because I know some campuses you have to drive to and from, so this is all walking distance.

Sancheon: Just being a student-athlete, that means a lot here. On campus people see you and they know who you are.

Ieasia: I like being a business major because we don't have class on Fridays [laughing].


What will you miss the most?

Ashley: I am going to miss all the people you meet being a theater major.  They're all so different and outgoing, creative personalities. ... I will miss playing with Ieasia, I have been playing with her for four years, all my teammates and coaches.  I will miss the fan base, and not just with us or football or men's basketball, it's every sport.  Every game you go to it's a nice crowd, great fans. I'm going to miss that.

Sancheon: Probably just playing college basketball. All of it.

Ieasia: I am going to miss the meal plan, having somewhere to eat and not having to pay for it. We don't cook. ...  I am going to miss playing here and will probably cry on senior night.  I will miss playing in front of the fans and their support. I am going to miss Carolina, I'm ready to graduate but I am not ready to go.  It's bittersweet.











BSB-12 vs. Clemson in regional.jpeg





















As the Gamecocks prepare to face rival Clemson this weekend in a three-game series (full notes and preview here), Coach Holbrook and his players shared some of their thoughts on one of, if not THE, best rivalries in college baseball. Check them out below:

Holbrook: "It's a great series...I think it showcases college baseball and what it's all about."

Tyler Webb: "I just think there are good players on both sides. You diffidently want to perform well on this big weekend with the opponent and the whole state is watching. I feel like on both sides the all the players on each team step up. ... You just need to have fun; it's just another game. Although it is a pretty big game it is still baseball and putting that extra pressure on yourself doesn't do any good and you still need to get out there and play and perform. When you get out there playing you don't worry about the opponent; you want to focus on what you need to do to win."

LB Dantzler: "It's huge. They are a great team, and it is just awesome to be a part of. The whole rivalry is exciting and it really is just a great time of year for us."

Max Schrock: "I'm definitely anxious. [The older players] say it's just like a completely different game. They can't describe it to me really. ... They told me that the fans will definitely play a role and they will be talking, they said to try to block it out and play the game. ... I wanted to be a part of the best rivalry in college baseball and I believe that's what this is."

Graham Saiko: "Obviously when you hear about South Carolina athletics, you here about the South Carolina, Clemson rivalry. I know it's a very big deal around here and I am very excited to play this weekend. I'm ready for the first experience and I think it's going to be fun."
 

 

 

Inside The Chart.pngThe juxtaposition jumps out immediately.  Against the SEC's three fastest-paced teams, South Carolina is 3-1 - and all three of those teams have winning conference records.  Against the three slowest teams they've faced, the Gamecocks are 0-4.

 

SEC Adjusted Tempo Rankings* (Possessions/Game)                    Result

1.       Arkansas                                                                        W 75-54

2.       Ole Miss                                                                         W 63-62

3.       LSU                                                                                W 82-73 (OT),  L 64-46

7.    South Carolina

11.  Georgia                                                                           L 67-56,  L 62-54 (OT)

12.  Alabama                                                                          L 68-58

13.  Texas A&M                                                                     Saturday

14.  Vanderbilt                                                                        L 58-51                 

 

*-Tempo stats courtesy of KenPom.com.  "Adjusted tempo" takes into account a team's schedule, the preferred pace of the opponent, and the date that game was played.

               

Robert Stack.jpgFor a team that struggles to score (12th SEC Offensive Efficiency), it seems paradoxical.  Why does South Carolina play better against teams that favor a faster - i.e., more high-scoring - pace?  

 

An "Inside The Chart" Unsolved Mystery:  why does South Carolina fare better against faster-paced teams?

 

Associate head coach Brad Underwood may have the best insight.  More than anyone on the Gamecock coaching staff, Underwood believes in the value of tempo-free statistics.  He offered his theories.

 

"When you play faster, you play less physical," Underwood explained on "Carolina Calls."  According to kenpom.com, South Carolina has the smallest average height (6'3 1/4") of any team in a BCS conference.  For undersized teams, it's hard to win a battle in the trenches over 40 minutes.  An open-floor game hides that weakness better than a halfcourt game, where opponents can deliberately target a team's height mismatch.  Underwood attributed several of the Gamecocks' late-game slides to the "grinding down" effect of facing taller, more physical teams. 

 

If a team can't exploit its height mismatch, it also can't rack up as many foul shots.  Look at South Carolina's free-throw differential against the fastest teams compared the slowest teams in the SEC:

 

FT Margin - Wins                        FT Margin - Losses

Arkansas:      +2                          Vanderbilt           -8

Ole Miss:       -1                           Georgia G1         -3

LSU G1:        +21                         Alabama            -20

LSU G2:        -3                           Georgia G2         -22

Wins:            +20                        Losses:              -53

 

It's no coincidence that fewer free throws - and less foul trouble - keep South Carolina more competitive.

 

Eric Smith Celebration.jpegIn general, Underwood says a faster pace suits the coaches' preference.  Dating back to their Kansas State days, they aim for an average of 75 possessions per game (Carolina is averaging 67.6/game this year). 

 

Eric Smith and Shane Phillips (right) celebrate during the Gamecocks' 63-62 win over Ole Miss.  The Rebels rank 12th in the country in Possessions/Game (72.1).

 

"Our team is getting to the point where we're starting to think less.  Basketball is such a reactionary game, and it's a game of anticipation.  When you're comfortable, you see the floor open up," Underwood said.

 

Carolina's opponent Saturday, the Texas A&M Aggies (16-12, 6-9 SEC), ranks 327th in the nation in Adjusted Tempo (61.2).  The Aggies don't play with much haste, and they feature a supernova scorer in senior guard Elston Turner, who exploded for 40 points at Rupp Arena and 37 points against Ole Miss. 

 

Based on what the numbers show, the key to a victory may be as simple as one phrase.

 

"Speed kills."

 

Our pre-game coverage at Texas A&M begins at 6:30 p.m. Saturday on the Gamecock IMG Sports Network.  See you in College Station.  -AD--