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Men's Basketball

Odom, players discuss Tennessee game

Jan. 11, 2008

Columbia, SC - South Carolina hosts No. 8 Tennessee on Sat., Jan. 12 at 8 pm in the Colonial Center. Good seats remain. Coach Odom and selected players met with the media on Friday to talk about the game.

Coach Odom's opening statement
"Another huge SEC team against a top-ranked team. Tennessee came in this year and was everyone's pre-season favorite. They have been challenged 2-3 times and have met every challenge. They are a team that likes to establish their style. When you look at ours and theirs - this game becomes who can establish their style. They press early and often; and they put a lot of pressure on you. Their defense is better than last year once the game settles.

"I liked Dane Bradshaw last year. I really like Tyler Smith this year. They really stretch you defensively. They really have put together a team that can play inside and outside. They let the defense set the pace in the backcourt and their offense set the tone in the frontcourt.

"The game begins for us when we get possession of the ball. We have given our team a plan. We wanted to attack Vanderbilt when we had numbers. When we do not, we let Devan and Zam set the half-court offense. When we have numbers, we should attack. Defensively we have to get back and stop three point shots, alley-oops, dunks. Once the game settles and hopefully that's at the half court, we have to get everyone back and get everyone ready. They run with great speed and play off the dribble well. I think our team is getting better and the attitude is excellent. I love big games and this is a really big game for both teams."

Q: They aren't as dependent this year as last year on Chris Lofton. Why?

Odom: If he runs off 30 on you, you are gonna have a hard time winning and he has that ability. He is averaging 15 a game and that's ok because they have spread their scoring out across 7-8 guys. Dwyane Day will start on Lofton. Devan will take the point guard (Jamar Smith). I worry about Devan getting in foul trouble because Jamar almost ramrods you.


Q: Are there certain teams that match up better for your team? You seem to match-up well against Tennessee.

Odom: I think basketball is a match up sport. It's not like baseball, but those kind of things can be offset a little bit. Football is what it is as well. Basketball is such a free-flow sport. My message to my team at 2:30 pm (team meeting on Friday) will be the focus - our first focus has to be settle the game. We couldn't let Vanderbilt run up and down free and easy. We had to have some say so in how the game is played and it's the same tomorrow night. We can't play at the pace Tennessee wants to play; we have to have some say-so in what goes on."

South Carolina Players Quotes

Devan Downey
"We're just taking it one game at a time. From the Vandy game, we're pleased because we had the most effort than we've had in a long time. They're supposed to be one of the best teams in the SEC and we could've won the game. If we can play hard and continue to grow, we'll be fine."

"Losing to UNC-Asheville was a wake-up call for us and we wanted to step up our game."

Brandis Raley-Ross
"It (the Vanderbilt game) was the first practice I'd had in awhile. It was faster than what I remembered. It was a great starting point for me though."

"My knee felt pretty good after the game. I stayed in practice the whole time and didn't miss a possession. I even did extra sprints after."

Zam Fredrick
"We gotta keep the pressure on the defense. We have to get the ball to the open man. We have to keep attacking to get to the open man. I go into every game thinking we are going to win. I believe in the coaches plans and strategies and the things we work on in practice. I feel we can play with those teams when it comes to playing 40 minutes of basketball and we have to find a way to in. We are talented enough - it comes down to us making enough plays and keeping focused."

Dwayne Day
"We need to be ready for the challenge tomorrow. When I go out I don't have to prove anything - the guys have put a lot on my shoulders. (on guarding Lofton): I love the challenge. I couldn't when we got back from Vanderbilt because of the loss. I played good defense, but we lost. I can't wait to play Tennessee. Chris Lofton puts the ball on the floor more (than Shan Foster) - I have to be ready for his drive."


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