Jan. 25, 2008
South Carolina, 9-9, will hit the road to play at Kentucky on Sat., Jan. 26 in a 1 pm game. In its last time out, South Carolina fell 73-71 in the last minute to Florida on Wed., Jan. 23 and Kentucky, 8-9 and 2-2 in the SEC, defeated No. 3 Tennessee 72-66 on Tues., Jan. 22 on ESPN.
The USC-UK game will be televised by Raycom (Larry Conley, Dave Baker) and the game will also be featured on the ESPN's FullCourt package nation-wide. The game can also be heard on the Gamecock Radio Network and will featured on Sirius Satellite Radio at No. 123. It can also be picked up via the internet at www.gamecocksonline.com.
The Gamecocks are looking for their first win at Rupp Arena since they won the 1997 SEC title with a 72-66 victory on March 2, 1997. The last five games have been close at Rupp with the 'Cats winning by an average of only 3.3 points per game and 20 points total. UK won by 7 in 2003 (55-62), 1 in 2004 (64-65), 4 in 2005 (75-79), 2 in 2006 (78-80) and 6 in 2007 (95-89).
Not your normal off week
It was a busy week off for the Gamecocks after their win at Arkansas as Carolina head coach Dave Odom announced in front of an over-flowing room on Fri., Jan. 18 that he will retire at the end of the season.
South Carolina has used seven different line-ups this season with Dominique Archie, Zam Fredrick and Devan Downey starting every game. Archie has started every game of his Gamecock career thus far (48). Downey has scored 20+ in the last five of six games, including each SEC game.
USC vs. UK
UK leads the series 39-7 - the most lopsided of all SEC series' for Carolina. USC has four of the seven wins in the series in Columbia (1933, 1994, 1997, 2005). Six of the last 10 games have been decided by seven points or less, but UK has come away with 23 wins in the 26 games the two have played since USC won the SEC title in 1997 by sweeping the series.
Kentucky has a 20-1 record in Lexington. Ten of the 46 were played prior to USC joining the SEC in 1991-92 with UK posting an 8-1 record in non-SEC play and a 31-6 record in SEC play. The two first played each other on Feb. 24, 1928 when Kentucky won 56-40 in the Southern Conference Tournament in Atlanta, Ga. Both teams were members of the Southern Conference with USC playing in the SC from 1922-1951 and UK from 1924-32.
USC has 3 of the 7 wins against UK under Odom.
Odom announces retirement at the end of the season
Dave Odom announced Fri., Jan. 18 he is retiring at the end of the 2007-08 season. The announcement was made at a press conference at the South Carolina Practice Facility. He has a 123-95 record at South Carolina and a career heading coach record of 401-269 record (East Carolina, Wake Forest and South Carolina).
South Carolina's 90-63 win over Radford notched Dave Odom's 400th career win in his 22 years as a head coach at East Carolina (38), Wake Forest (240) and South Carolina (123). He is the 29th active coach to reach 400 wins. Odom is already currently the winningest all-time coach in the SEC.
The 123 wins are tied for third all-time at USC with Eddie Fogler - only Frank McGuire (283) and Frank Johnson (174) have more wins in their Carolina career.
With the two wins over UF's Billy Donovan and the win over Rick Pitino's Louisville crowd in 2006, Odom has posted a number of quality wins over coaches who have led their teams to the Final Four and/or won national championships during their own careers. With 401 careers wins as a head coach in his 22 years at East Carolina, Wake and USC, Odom has wins over a number of legendary coaches including Donovan, Pitino, Roy Williams (at Kansas), Lon Kruger, Rick Majerus, Dean Smith, Gary Williams, Mike Krzyzewski, Tubby Smith, John Chaney, Nolan Richardson, Bobby Cremins, Denny Crum, Jim Valvano, Jim Boeheim, Terry Holland and Eddie Sutton.
Coach Odom spoke on Thursday's teleconference and the following are a few comments.
"It's not a very good time to play Kentucky. It seems like every team we play - their team is on the rise. I am into the now with what Kentucky is doing today. They are a far cry from what they were playing in November and December. I give (head coach) Billy Gillispie a ton of credit. He coached his team and not only the team, but everyone in the state of Kentucky is realizing what a great job he is doing. We have our work cut out for us on Saturday. We have a huge mountain to climb, but one we are excited about. They have my attention and I know they have my team's attention. There are few better places to play than Rupp Arena.
(on Devan Downey) "He is from Chester and it's not a large town. He has had to fight for everything. He relishes that role and he has carried it on at South Carolina. (being small) You think he can't do some of the things he is doing and sometimes you have to play him once or twice and realize he can do those things. He has challenged himself every night and his teammates as well. He can get better defensively even though he gets a lot of steals. He is exciting to watch play. He's giving every ounce of energy he has."
(on why the team hasn't won at the end of games): "It's two things. We have a new team and we have some inexperience at some key positions. We don't always make good decisions at key times. Maybe we don't' have quite the confidence to finish games. Our depth is not as good as it needs to be. We aren't getting the kind of post or perimeter play we need. At the end of the game they take a play off and they aren't loafing. Because we can't go deep in our bench right now sometimes that is a product of fatigue." Leaders
South Carolina has three players averaging double figures: Devan Downey (19.9), Zam Fredrick (16.1) and Dominique Archie (10.4). Downey leads the team with 5.0 apg and 3.5 spg. Sam Muldrow leads with 1.9 bpg. Archie leads the team with 6.3 rpg and Mike Holmes is second at 5.2 rpg.
For the season Downey has a team-high 30 points vs. Penn State on Nov. 22 and Holmes had a team-high 16 rebounds vs. N.C. State on Nov. 23. Archie has two double-doubles this season (Jan. 2 vs. Radford, Jan. 23 vs. Florida) and Downey has one (Nov. 12 vs. The Citadel). Career-wise, Archie has three, Downey has two career double-doubles and Fredrick has one dating back to his days at Georgia Tech (vs. Michigan State).
USC is 5-1 when scoring 80+ with a high water mark of 103 points vs. The Citadel on Nov. 12. On the flip side, USC is 1-5 when the opponent scores 80+.
Rewind to Florida
The following are a few notes from South Carolina's 71-73 loss to Florida on Wed., Jan. 23.
Dominique Archie recorded a career- high 11 rebounds. His previous high was 10 against Lipscomb on Nov. 19, 2006 and against Radford on Jan. 2, 2008. He has at least 4 rebounds in every game this year except the first (1 vs. SC State) and has at least 5 rebounds in all but 2 games this season (SC State and Vanderbilt). He has scored in double figures 10 times this year and 8 of the last 9. It's his second double-double this season and the third of his career.
Devan Downey started the night leading the SEC in scoring in SEC games (24.7) and second by a half point to Vanderbilt's Shan Foster in all games (Foster has 20.1 and Downey has 19.6). He scored in double figures for the 39th straight game (dating back to CU) and has hit double digits every game for the Gamecocks. Downey had 4 games with 2+ three's at Cincinnati and he already has 9 games this season with 2+ three's. He has scored 20+ in 9 games this season including 4 straight and 5 of the last 6.
Zam Fredrick dished out 5 assists on the night. He has 5+ assists in 5 games this season. He grabbed 4 rebounds and he has at least 4 in 9 games this season.
The Gamecocks have hit 10+ three pointers in a game 6 times this season. Carolina is 4-2 in those 6 games. Carolina hit 10+ three's in only 7 games last season. (30 games)
Chester native Devan Downey sat the bench last year as a transfer from Cincinnati, where he made the All Big-East Freshman team, and watched All-SEC first-teamer Tre' Kelley lead the league in scoring, playing against Kelley on the scout team all season. Downey credits Kelley often for helping him improve his overall game.
Prior to the 2007-08 season, Rivals.com named Downey the top impact transfer in the country. He was also a Cousy Award nominee. So far Downey is living up to his billing. He leads the SEC in scoring in SEC games (24.5 ppg to Marcus Thorton's 22.8 ppg at LSU) and is second only to Shan Foster by a 0.2 ppg (Foster has 20.1 ppg and Downey has 19.9 ppg) in all games. Downey has started and scored double figures every game this season. He has scored 20+ in nine games, including each SEC game this season (4).
He leads the SEC in steals and second in the country with 3.5 spg. He is playing the second most minutes in the SEC and is third in assists.
Don't overlook either
Playing the No. 2 spot, Zam Fredrick is also turning heads. Fredrick has scored double figures in 16 of 18 games this season - hitting nine in the other two contests. Fredrick is second on the team in three-point percentage (39.8%) behind Brandis Raley Ross (61.2%). He is averaging a very-respectable 3.7 apg while scoring 16.1 ppg.
Fredrick's name sounds familiar in these parts for a reason - father Zam Fredrick led the nation in scoring in 1981 when he hit 28.9 ppg his senior year. Father Fredrick scored 1,383 points during his four-year career, averaging 13.7 ppg in 101 games. He is currently No. 15 on the all-time scorers list. The Calhoun County boys' basketball team, led by Father Fredrick, recently surpassed the all-time consecutive mark of 65 set by Hannah from 1957-60 (for S.C. high schools).
Almost the leader
In the current NCAA rankings, Devan Downey is second only to Lester Hudson of UT-Martin in steals (3.6 spg as of Jan. 20). After picking up five pockets at Vandy and then six at Arkansas, Downey is averaging 3.5 spg The single season school record is held by Chuck Eidson (2.91 spg in 2000). Eidson is also No. 2 on the individual season list with 2.46 in 2002.
Eidson holds the career school record with 272 steals for an average of 2.42 spg from 2000-03. Closest to Eidson for the school record during a career: Barry Manning averaged 1.84 spg from 1988-92. Downey is averaging 2.7 spg in his career after averaging 1.91 spg his freshman campaign at Cincinnati.
Free Throws, Field
USC is making almost 72% of its free throws (195-272) which is a nine percent increase from last year's 63% (194-306) at the 18-game mark. USC made nearly 95% (18-19) of its free throws against Baylor to finish third in the SEC for single game FT %.
The Gamecocks are making over 40% of their 3 pt. field goals to rank No. 2 in the SEC. It is a nine percent increase from last year's 32% at the same point (123-380). With the improved three-point shooting, the Gamecocks are putting more points on the board this year than last. This season the Gamecocks averaged 78 ppg vs. non-conference competition, a 13% increase (last year USC averaged 65 ppg).
Notes and more Notes
Carolina has scored 40+ first half points in five home games this season. (SC State, The Citadel, Campbell, Baylor, Radford). Last year USC scored 40+ in only eight halves total. USC also scored 52 in the second half of the C of C game.
The Gamecocks have at least 5 steals in 17 of 18 games this season. After 17 games last season, the Gamecocks had 5+ steals in just five games.
In eight of its games, USC has finished with 9+ steals per game. During its season-high 15 steals vs. The Citadel, Devan Downey lead the charge with a season-high six steals. Raley-Ross added two and Sam Muldrow, Zam Fredrick, Chad Gray, Branden Conrad, Rob Wilder, Dwayne Day and Mike Holmes each picked up a theft.
Dominique Archie told the media recently that Brandon Wallace's school-record 249 blocked shots might be jeopardy if Sam Muldrow plays four years for the Gamecocks. While that is quite a stretch 18 games into the Florence native's freshman campaign, he is making his shot-blocking abilities known. Muldrow, the cousin of former All-SEC Gamecock forward Carlos Powell, leads the team with 1.9 bpg. He blocked six shots vs. Tennessee on Jan. 12 which topped his five blocked shots vs. Campbell on Nov. 28. It was the most for a freshman since Renaldo Balkman blocked five shots on Feb. 11, 2004 vs. Mississippi State. He followed up that performance with 4 blocks at Clemson.
The Gamecocks have forced double-digit turnovers against every opponent this season except two (9, Southern California and Florida). Penn State let the ball fall into Gamecock hands a season-high 21 times, Campbell turned it over 20 times, Arkansas fumbled it 19 times and Radford turned it over 18 times. Opponents are turning the ball over an average of 14.4 times a game with USC is averaging 11.3 turnovers a game. USC has turned the ball over 10 times or fewer in eight games.
The Gamecocks are almost 13 ppg more than they were last year at this same time. USC is averaging 75.6 ppg and have hit 74+ points in nine games this year. After 17 games last year USC was averaging 62.7 ppg.
Carolina is holding opponents to just 32.42% from three-point range on the year, including The Citadel who shot 3-29 from beyond the arc (10.3%) and Penn State who went 4-25 for a 16% showing. Likewise USC is hitting 40.4% of its 3 point attempts with Brandis Raley-Ross leading the charge in the SEC at 61.5% by averaging 2 threes per game.
The Gamecocks played four games at two neutral sites this season (three in Orlando at the Old Spice Classic and one in Philadelphia at the Pizza Hut Big East-SEC Challenge). It is the most USC has played on a neutral court early in the season since it played four of its first 7 regular season games in 1998-99 (two in Indianapolis and two in Charlotte).
The Gamecocks have made at least one 3-pointer in 186 consecutive games since they went 0-19 vs. Mississippi State on March 2, 2002 - a 64-57 loss. They have also had at least one block in 104 consecutive games since they went block-less on Jan. 15, 2005 in a 66-63 win vs. Tennessee.
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