Men's Basketball

Carolina's Odom previews basketball game with No. 20 Vanderbilt

Feb. 8, 2008

Columbia, SC - South Carolina head coach Dave Odom met with the media and previewed the Vanderbilt game on Friday. The game will be played Sat., Feb. 9 at 5 pm in the Colonial Center and good seats remain. Then-No. 12 Vanderbilt won the first meeting this season on Jan. 9 in Nashville, 80-73.

Odom started off the Vanderbilt press conference with the following statements: "Vanderbilt offers a huge challenge for us because they are road-tested. This will be their sixth road game in the SEC and they are a good team by anyone's estimation. Vanderbilt has played well on the road. The Florida game got away from them a little bit, the Kentucky game they were right there and Ole Miss got away from them at the end. It's a tough game for us. They are another one of those teams that will provide a challenge for us. Shan Foster and A.J. Oglivy are excellent. The two players that have risen above the norm and have made Vanderbilt a very potent team are Alex Gordon and Jermaine Beal. He is really a good solid point guard and he has to be dealt with and they have other players.

"When you look at our side, we continue to play well in practice. It has to (that we are playing well in practice) because anything less than that and we will have trouble.

"We will start the same line-up and are looking for Brandis (Raley-Ross) to continue to make shots. Sam Muldrow plays well in games, but not in practice. I want to get him to be a star in practice, too. Mike Holmes has played well this week in practice and we hope he will play. It will be a big night for us and hope for a win. It will be a well-earned win and you would have to be pleased with that half-way you are 4-4."

Q: Was there a collective sigh when Brandis Raley-Ross made his baskets the other night?


Odom: "Yes, there was. When he did hit, we were like 'yes, yes. Maybe he's back'. Sometimes in a case like that, it's just one shot that brings you back and he has continued to play well in practice this week. Just the threat that he can make shots will help us."

Q: Are you a different team than the one that went to Nashville?

Odom: "Yes, we are a different team and they are, too. That game was my last straw with Dwayne Day and he responded. That was the first game that Dwayne played like he was capable of playing all along. Evka started the Arkansas game and has started all the games except for Florida. Our style is different. We have worked our way into a different style. I am a little hard-headed and I wanted to get bigger and better and I said 'that's not working, let's try something else.' We went to a smaller line-up and it's been better.

It will be interesting to see what Vanderbilt does because they haven't played against this line-up yet. Whether they go zone or pound the ball inside - we'll see early on."

Q: Can you play better than you did the other night at Ole Miss?
Odom: "We can and we will. We played extremely hard the other night and a month ago against Vanderbilt we didn't play well enough to win. Alex Gordon made that one shot - we had defended like crazy for 32 or 33 seconds and he made that long jump shot from way out and that sealed our doom."

Q: Vandy is 1-4 on the road. Are you surprised?
Odom: "Tennessee was what it is (best Vandy), but they have done that to everybody who has been in there and you have to throw that game out. The Ole Miss game was very very tight. They have great spurt-ability. Vanderbilt didn't play well at Florida. They just won at Georgia and I am sure they feel pretty good about themselves. They have some confidence coming in and they have good senior leaders. We would rather play them here than in Nashville, but I told my team yesterday just because we are home and they are not, doesn't guarantee us anything."

Q: Is it tough to stick with this line-up instead of playing more of Mike Holmes and Sam Muldrow?
Odom: "They can help, but what you do is defensively they would be a notch better than Evka in most situations and probably rebound a bit better, be more physical and hold low-post defensive stances there. What you would gain, you would lose at the other end. Those two would play right into AJ's plan. When the bigger guys are forced to play defense out on the perimeter against us, it is good for us. We have more driving lanes. I want to do right for our team. Zam, Devan and Dwayne are very comfortable with the style we have evolved into. I think right now we will stick with what we got. I would like to put Chad, Mike and Sam in more, but I think we will stick with what we got."


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