March 7, 2008
Columbia, SC - South Carolina head coach Dave Odom met with the media on Fri., March 7 to preview the Tennessee game on Sun., March 9 at 2 pm EST on Raycom.
Odom opened the press conference with the following statements:
"Tennessee is tempo, tempo, tempo. Everything with them is speed and when you are taking speed, you are talking 'what speed?' - NASCAR-level or a bit more controlled? We have to establish the speed quickly. If they are 14 or 16 points down like they were against Florida, their play doesn't change. If they are 14 up, it could quickly blow up to 25 and they don't change. They press when it's appropriate, always pushing the ball offensively, drives sinking the defense. They have tenacious attacking of the offensive glass. They are a really good team and obviously you have the other problems: 22,000 in Thompson-Boling, last game, all that. We have not practiced since Kentucky (took Thursday off) and when we have had a disappointing game, we normally come back and play really well. Our history has been when we play poorly, although the score was not that one-sided, we didn't play really well. Our history is to come back and play really well the next game.
"We know what we are going to get with Tennessee the last game of the year in Knoxville. Generally the kind of pressure they put on you is different in games than it is against Tennessee live (like what you practice against vs. what you see live). I don't expect there will be a tremendous line-up change if there is at all."
Will you have any special emotions going into the final game of the year before the tournament?
Odom: "I think that part of it is over. The emotion of my departure has received maybe undo attention. It was more than I imagined. I was just taken aback by it. I think now we can play basketball, trying to be a better team and improving. It is the last regular season game away and we will certainly the concentration will be on our team and not some kind of ceremony. It will simply be an away game, playing a top team in the country with a lot at stake. The tournament might feel a little different, but I don't' see this game being all that emotional."
Would you want to play the spoiler vs. Tennessee?
Odom: "I am not good at that. I want us to win the game because we are getting better, but not to spoil Tennessee's party. I want us to win because we are good enough."
Are you afraid this game could get ugly if you aren't paying attention?
Odom: "I am not afraid because they can make it ugly for everybody. The only way it gets ugly is they play out of their minds and we let that happen without competing. If we don't play intelligent basketball than yes that could certainly happen, but that would happen to anybody. You can go back and see they have done that to a lot of people this year. We will challenge them to play the game with the intention that we will play hard and play with a great determination. Tennessee is far and away the quickest and most defensively important team that we've played this year. The best thing they do is attack the glass."
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