COLUMBIA, S.C. -
Contests against at least five teams that competed in the 2011 NCAA Tournament highlight the 2011-12 South Carolina men's basketball non-conference schedule, released on Monday by fourth-year head coach Darrin Horn.
"This is an extremely aggressive and challenging non-conference schedule for our team," Horn said. "This schedule continues our philosophy of playing against some of the top teams in the nation - a nationally-competitive schedule. We have outstanding opponents and we're going to face as many as five teams that were in the NCAA Tournament. We travel to Clemson; we are set to face North Carolina and Ohio State; Providence in the Big East/SEC Challenge and the list goes on."
South Carolina will host 11 non-conference contests at Colonial Life Arena, including one exhibition, the first two rounds of the Las Vegas Invitational, Providence in the Big East/SEC Challenge and Big Ten powerhouse Ohio State. The Gamecocks will face at least six teams that compiled 18 or more wins last season, including North Carolina, Southern California or UNLV, Clemson, Ohio State and Wofford, which all advanced to the NCAA Tournament. South Carolina is slated to face five BCS schools during the coming non-conference portion of the schedule.
The Gamecocks kick off the home portion of their schedule with an exhibition contest against eight-time NCAA Division II National Champion Kentucky Wesleyan on Nov. 3. The Gamecocks and Panthers have squared off in an exhibition contest in each of the last three seasons. Western Carolina, the SoCon Co-North Division champion in 2011, visits Colonial Life Arena on Nov. 11 in the official season opener for both schools.
South Carolina travels to Elon on Nov. 15 before beginning Las Vegas Invitational play with its first on-campus contest versus Tennessee State, who returns Ohio Valley Conference Freshman of the Year Patrick Miller, on Nov. 20. The Gamecocks will entertain Mississippi Valley State in a short turnaround two days later, before a Nov. 25 matchup with UNC in Las Vegas. The meeting between the Gamecocks and Tar Heels marks the first between the two former Southern and Atlantic Coast Conference rivals since the 1996-97 campaign.
In its final contest of tournament play, South Carolina will play either Southern California or UNLV. Regardless of its second-day match-up, both of Carolina's opponents in Vegas participated in the 2011 NCAA Tournament, with North Carolina advancing to the Elite Eight, Southern Cal to the First Four and UNLV to the second round.
Following the tournament, Carolina returns to the friendly confines of Colonial Life Arena to host Providence, led by first-year head coach Ed Cooley, in the Big East/SEC Challenge on Dec. 1, before traveling to face archrival Clemson at Littlejohn Coliseum on Dec. 4.
Following the break for exams, South Carolina will host six consecutive contests before beginning Southeastern Conference play in January, beginning with a Dec. 13 matchup versus Presbyterian. Ohio State, along with first-team All-American Jared Sullinger, visits Columbia on Dec. 17, and the Gamecocks will host SE Louisiana on Dec. 21 in the final contest before the holiday break.
Reigning Southern Conference regular-season and tournament champion Wofford travels to Columbia on Dec. 28, followed by a New Year's Eve matchup versus USC Upstate. The Gamecocks conclude the non-conference portion of their schedule with a Jan. 3 contest versus SC State at Colonial Life Arena.
Television information and game times for South Carolina's non-conference contests will be released at a later date.
Below is a team breakdown on each non-conference opponent:
Kentucky Wesleyan (Exhibition, Nov. 3, Colonial Life Arena) Head Coach: Todd Lee (84-60 in 6 years at KWC/overall) 2010-11 Record/Conference Finish: 19-10, 10-8 Great Valley Lakes Conference/fifth in the GLVC East 2010-11 Postseason: Loss to Northern Kentucky in the NCAA Division II Midwest Region Championship Final AP Ranking: N/A 2010-11 Season Notable: KWC earned a bid to the NCAA Tournament for the 37th time in its history last season. Top Returners: Return three of their top for scorers: Anthony Young (Jr./C/6-7/250/Indianapolis, IN) 19.4 ppg, 8.4 rpg; Cardell McFarland (Jr./G/6-0/170/Evansville, IN) 18.0 ppg, 3.9 apg; Marsilles Stewart (Jr./G/6-3/241/San Francisco, CA) 9.6 ppg, 4.4 rpg Did You Know? South Carolina has played Kentucky Wesleyan in an exhibition contest in each of the last three seasons ... KWC is an eight-time NCAA Division II National Champion, most recently in 2001. Series Record: 1-1 (most recently met in 1963-64 season)
Western Carolina (Nov. 11, Colonial Life Arena) Head Coach: Larry Hunter (90-100 in 6 seasons at WCU; 599-324 in 31 seasons overall) 2010-11 Record/Conference Finish: 18-15, 12-6 SoCon/Co-North Division Winner) 2010-11 Postseason: Loss to Wofford in semifinals of SoCon Tournament Final AP Ranking: N/A 2010-11 Season Notable: Western Carolina finished the season 18-15 overall - the program's third-straight winning season, the longest run of above-.500 finishes since five-consecutive winning seasons from 1979 through `84 ... The Catamounts claimed a school-record 12 victories in Southern Conference play en route to the program's third divisional title - and second in the past three seasons - sharing the SoCon North Division crown ... Redshirt-freshman Trey Sumler was named the 2011 SoCon Freshman of the Year. Top Returners: Trey Sumler (R-So./G/6-2/175/Rock Mount, NC) 11.5 ppg, 4.0 rpg, 3.0 apg; Brandon Boggs (So./G/6-5/190/Greenville, SC) 7.7 ppg, 3.7 rpg; Harouna Mutombo (R-Sr./F/6-4/195/Pickering, Ontario) 10.1 ppg, 5.6 rpg Did You Know? WCU was a No. 1 seed in the SoCon tournament in 2011 for just the second-time in program history, garnering the other top seed in the 1996 tournament in Greensboro, N.C., after claiming the SoCon South Division title. Series Record: South Carolina leads, 7-0 (most recently met in 2006-07 season)
Elon (Nov. 15, Alumni Gym, Elon, NC) Head Coach: Matt Matheny (23-40 in two seasons at Elon/overall) 2010-11 Record/Conference Finish: 14-17, 7-11 SoCon/4th North Division 2010-11 Postseason: Loss to College of Charleston in quarterfinals of SoCon Tournament Final AP Ranking: N/A 2010-11 Season Notable: Elon finished the 2010-11 season ranked fourth in the NCAA in 3-point field goals per game (9.2) ... The Phoenix won four of its final six games last season, including an 85-74 victory over The Citadel in the SoCon Tournament. Top Returners: Drew Spradlin (Sr./G/6-5/192/Wheelersburg, OH)13.6 ppg, 4.1 rpg; Jack Isenbarger (So./G/6-2/175/Zionsville, IN) 10.4 ppg, 1.9 apg; Lucas Troutman (So./F/6-10/205/Belton, SC) 8.8 ppg, 4.1 rpg, 1.5 bpg Did You Know? Head Coach Matt Matheny has spent his entire coaching career within the Southern Conference, having spent 16 seasons on staff at Davidson, 10 seasons as an assistant coach and six as associate head coach ... 70 percent of the students at Elon University will study abroad at least once before graduating. Series Record: South Carolina leads, 2-0 (most recently met during 2010-11 season)
Tennessee State (Nov. 20, Colonial Life Arena, Las Vegas Invitational) Head Coach: John Cooper (23-39 in two seasons at Tennessee State/overall) 2010-11 Record/Conference Finish: 14-16, 10-8 OVC/5th 2010-11 Postseason: Loss to Tennessee Martin in opening round of OVC Tournament Final AP Ranking: N/A 2010-11 Season Notable: The Tigers did not have a selection to the All-OVC preseason squad, but they had three selections at the end of the season, as Robert Covington and Kenny Moore earned second-team honors, while Patrick Miller was named to the OVC Newcomer Team, as well as being named the league's Freshman of the Year. Top Returners: Kenny Moore (Sr./F/6-7/220/Philadelphia, PA) 14.5 ppg, 6.9 rpg; Robert Covington (Jr./F/6-9/210/Bellwood, IL) 13.4 ppg, 7.5 rpg; Patrick Miller (So./G/6-0/185/Chicago, IL) 11.4 ppg, 2.9 apg Did You Know? Head Coach John Cooper was an assistant at South Carolina from 1996-2001, while assistant coach Rick Duckett was an assistant at South Carolina in 1982, and from 2002-08. Sheldon Everette, also an assistant at Tennessee State, is a former member of the Gamecock basketball team. Series Record: South Carolina leads, 1-0 (only meeting came during 1985-86 season)
Mississippi Valley State (Nov. 22, Colonial Life Arena, Las Vegas Invitational) Head Coach: Sean Woods (29-67 in three seasons at Mississippi Valley State/overall) 2010-11 Record/Conference Finish: 13-19, 12-6 SWAC/3rd 2010-11 Postseason: Loss to Grambling State in the opening round of the SWAC Tournament Final AP Ranking: N/A 2010-11 Season Notable: Senior guard D'Angelo Jackson and junior center Paul Crosby were both named to the 2011 SWAC All-Conference First Team ... Mississippi Valley State ranked 45th in the nation in 3-point field goal defense (.320) in 2010-11. Top Returners: Terrence Joyner (Sr./G/6-3/175/Mendenhall, MS) 10.1 ppg, 2.2 apg; Paul Crosby (Sr./C/6-8/245/Lansing, MI) 11.9 ppg, 7.0 rpg Did You Know? Head Coach Sean Woods is a 1992 graduate of Kentucky, where he played for the Wildcats from 1989-92. Series Record: First Meeting
North Carolina (Nov. 25, Las Vegas, Nev., Orleans Arena, Las Vegas Invitational) Head Coach: Roy Williams (225-62 in eight seasons at UNC; 643-163 in 23 seasons overall) 2010-11 Record/Conference Finish: 29-8, 14-2 ACC/1st 2010-11 Postseason: Loss to Kentucky in the NCAA Tournament Elite Eight round Final AP Ranking: No. 7 2010-11 Season Notable: The Tar Heels won 22 of their last 26 games ... Tyler Zeller was named first team Academic All-America ... Harrison Barnes was named ACC Rookie of the Year and Roy Williams was named ACC Coach of the Year. Top Returners: Harrison Barnes (So./F/6-8/210/Ames, IA) 15.7 ppg, 5.8 rpg; John Henson (Jr./F/6-10/210/Tampa, FL) 11.7 ppg, 10.1 rpg; Tyler Zeller (Sr./F/7-0/250/Washington, IN)15.7 ppg, 7.2 rpg; Kendall Marshall (So./G/6-3/186/Dumfries, VA) 6.2 ppg, 6.2 apg Did You Know? Harrison Barnes made the go-ahead or game-winning baskets in seven different games during his freshman campaign ... The Tar Heels won eight games by three points or less in the 2010-11 season, the most in school history. Series Record: North Carolina leads 57-21 (last meeting came in 1996-97 season)
Southern California (Possible opponent, Nov. 26, Las Vegas, Nev., Orleans Arena, Las Vegas Invitational) Head Coach: Kevin O'Neill (35-29 in two seasons at Southern California; 223-223 in 13 seasons overall) 2010-11 Record/Conference Finish: 19-15, 10-8 Pac-10/4th 2010-11 Postseason: Loss to VCU in NCAA Tournament First Four round Final AP Ranking: N/A 2010-11 Season Notable: After being named the 2010 Pac-10 Most Improved Player, Nikola Vucevic was named to the Pac-10 First Team and FOXSports.com All-America Fourth Team after the 2010-11 season ... Senior guard Marcus Simmons was named the 2011 Pac-10 Defensive Player of the Year. Top Returners: Jio Fontan (Sr./G/6-0/175/Paterson, NJ) 10.5 ppg, 3.9 apg; Maurice Jones (So./G/5-7/155/Saginaw, MI) 9.9 ppg, 3.2 apg Did You Know? In his freshman campaign in 2010-11, guard Maurice Jones tallied 69 steals, most by a Southern Cal freshman in a season and the third highest season total in Southern California history. Series Record: South Carolina leads, 2-1 (most recently met during the 2007-08 season)
UNLV (Possible opponent, Nov. 26, Las Vegas, Nev., Orleans Arena, Las Vegas Invitational) Head Coach: Dave Rice (first season as a head coach) 2010-11 Record/Conference Finish: 24-9, 11-5 Mountain West Conference/3rd 2010-11 Postseason: Loss to Illinois in the NCAA Tournament Southwest Region Second Round Final AP Ranking: N/A 2010-11 Season Notable: UNLV had three selections to the All-Mountain West Conference teams: senior Tre'Von Willis to the second team and juniors Oscar Bellfield and Chace Stanback ... It was the second year in a row that Willis, Bellfield and Stanback were selected to All-MWC teams ... The Runnin' Rebels won six of their last eight games Top Returners: Chace Stanback (R-Sr./G/F/6-8/210/Los Angeles, CA) 13.0 ppg, 5.9 rpg; Oscar Bellfield (Sr./G/6-2/185/Los Angeles, CA) 11.2 ppg, 3.7 apg; Quintrell Thomas (R-Jr./F/6-8/245/Newark, NJ) 6.7 ppg, 5.2 rpg Did You Know? Head Coach Dave Rice was a part of the 1990 UNLV National Championship team as a player, was a Rhodes Scholar candidate and is the first former player to become head coach at UNLV. Series Record: South Carolina leads, 5-1 (most recently met during the 2004-05 season)
Providence (Dec. 1, Colonial Life Arena, Big East/SEC Challenge) Head Coach: Ed Cooley (first season at Providence, 92-69 in five seasons overall) 2010-11 Record/Conference Finish: 15-17, 4-14 Big East/11th 2010-11 Postseason: Loss to Marquette in the first round of the Big East Tournament Final AP Ranking: N/A 2010-11 Season Notable: Senior Marshon Brooks was named third team All-America by the Associated Press and First Team All-Big East ... Brooks broke the Big East single-game scoring record vs. No. 9 Notre Dame with 52 points on Feb. 23, 2011. Top Returners: Vincent Council (Jr./G/6-2/180/Brooklyn, NY) 13.7 ppg, 5.9 apg; Gerard Coleman (So./G/6-4/180/Boston, MA) 10.3 ppg; Kadeem Batts (So./F/6-9/250/Powder Springs, GA) 7.1 ppg, 5.8 rpg Did You Know? The 2010-11 Friars were the youngest team in the Big East with 11 players in their first year of eligibility ... South Carolina and Providence met in the 2007 Big East/SEC Invitational, with Carolina earning a 68-67 victory behind 21 points from Devan Downey. Series Record: Providence leads, 4-3 (most recently met during the 2007-08 season)
Clemson (Dec. 4, Littlejohn Coliseum, Clemson, SC) Head Coach: Brad Brownell (22-12 in one season at Clemson, 189-97 in nine seasons overall) 2010-11 Record/Conference Finish: 22-12, 9-7 ACC/T-4th 2010-11 Postseason: Loss to West Virginia in the NCAA Tournament East Region Second Round Final AP Ranking: N/A 2010-11 Season Notable: For the season, Clemson shot 70.1 percent from the free-throw line, their best season percentage since the 2000-01 campaign ... Demontez Stitt finished his career for the Tigers ranking sixth overall in career assists (419) and ninth in career steals (164). Top Returners: Andre Young (Sr./G/5-9/170/Albany, GA) 11.1 ppg, 3.0 apg; Milton Jennings (Jr./F/6-9/225/Summerville, SC) 8.3 ppg, 5.2 rpg; Devin Booker (Jr./F/C/6-8/245/Wiltmire, SC) 8.1 ppg, 5.5 rpg Did You Know? Senior center Catalin Baciu is the tallest member of the Clemson men's basketball team, measuring in at 7'2". Series Record: South Carolina leads, 87-74 (most recently met during the 2010-11 season)
Presbyterian (Dec. 13, Colonial Life Arena) Head Coach: Gregg Nibert (362-292 in 22 years at PC/overall) 2010-11 Record/Conference Finish: 13-18, 7-11 Big South/T-7th 2010-11 Postseason: N/A Final AP Ranking: N/A 2010-11 Season Notable: The 13 wins in the 2010-11 season were the highest total for the Blue Hose since moving to Division I ... Their 66-64 victory over Wake Forest was the first-ever PC victory over an ACC squad. Top Returners: Al'Lonzo Coleman (R-Sr./F/6-7/250/Charlotte, NC) 14.1 ppg, 8.1 rpg; Khalid Mutakabbir (Jr./G/6-4/190/Suwanee, GA) 13.5 ppg, 2.3 apg; Pierre Miller (R-Sr./G/5-10/160/Warner Robbins, GA) 9.6 ppg, 3.6 apg, 3.4 rpg Did You Know? Al'Lonzo Coleman is the only PC player to reach the 1,000-point club since the school moved to Division I. Coleman also reached the 500-rebound plateau during the 2010-11 season. Series Record: South Carolina leads, 30-8 (most recently met during the 2008-09 season)
Ohio State (Dec. 17, Colonial Life Arena) Head Coach: Thad Matta (190-57 in seven years at OSU, 292-88 in 11 years overall) 2010-11 Record/Conference Finish: 34-3, 16-2 Big Ten/1st 2010-11 Postseason: Loss to Kentucky in the NCAA Tournament Sweet Sixteen Round Final AP Ranking: No. 1 2010-11 Season Notable: The Buckeyes were awarded the overall No. 1 seed in the NCAA Tournament after winning the Big Ten regular season and tournament titles. Jared Sullinger was voted First Team All-America by the NABC, the AP, and the USBWA ... Freshman Aaron Craft was named Big Ten Sixth Player of the Year. Top Returners: Jared Sullinger (So./F/6-9/280/Columbus, OH) 17.2 ppg, 10.2 rpg; William Buford (Sr./G/6-5/205/Toledo, OH)14.4 ppg, 2.9 apg; Aaron Craft (So./G/6-2/195/Findlay OH) 6.9 ppg, 4.8 apg Did You Know? The Buckeyes set a new record for best start to a season after losing the National Player of the Year. Ohio State began last season 24-0 after losing Evan Turner after the 2009-10 season Series Record: Ohio State leads, 2-1 (met most recently during the 2010-11 season)
Southeastern Louisiana (Dec. 21, Colonial Life Arena) Head Coach: Jim Yarbrough (96-82 in six seasons at Southeastern Louisiana, 193-124 in 11 seasons overall) 2010-11 Record/Conference Finish: 15-14, 9-7 Southland Conference/5th 2010-11 Postseason: Loss to Texas State in the quarterfinals of the Southland Conference Tournament Final AP Ranking: N/A 2010-11 Season Notable: Senior guard Trent Hutchin and junior guard Brandon Fortenberry were both named to the All-Southland Conference Third Team. Top Returners: Brandon Fortenberry (Sr./G/6-3/185/Picayune, MS) 11.9 ppg, 4.2 apg; DeShawn Patterson (Sr./G/F/6-4/220/Houma, LA) 6.3 ppg, 3.9 rpg Did You Know? Current Gamecock assistant coach Neill Berry played on the 2005 SLU basketball team that captured the Southland Conference Tournament title and made its first appearance in the NCAA Championships ... Current "Good Morning America" anchor Robin Roberts is a 1983 graduate of SLU and is part of the 2012 class of the Women's Basketball Hall of Fame. Series Record: First meeting
Wofford (Dec. 28, Colonial Life Arena) Head Coach: Mike Young (137-139 in nine seasons at Wofford/overall) 2010-11 Record/Conference Finish: 21-13, 14-4 SoCon/T-1st 2010-11 Postseason: Loss to BYU in the NCAA Tournament Southeast Region Second Round Final AP Ranking: N/A 2010-11 Season Notable: Wofford won their second-straight SoCon Tournament Championship and made their second-straight NCAA Tournament appearance in 2010-11 ... The Terriers took an eight-game win streak into the NCAA Tournament. Top Returners: Kevin Giltner (Sr./G/6-6/200/Kingston Springs, TN) 6.2 ppg; Brad Loesing (Sr./F/6-0/180/Cincinnati, OH) 6.2 ppg, 3.2 apg Did You Know? Wofford shared the 2010 SoCon football championship with Appalachian State and won the 2011 SoCon basketball tournament. The last time a school won both in the same academic year was Appalachian State in the 1999-00. Series Record: South Carolina leads, 42-19 (most recently met during the 2010-11 season)
USC Upstate (Dec. 31, Colonial Life Arena) Head Coach: Eddie Payne (120-146 in nine seasons at USC Upstate, 380-379 in 26 seasons overall) 2010-11 Record/Conference Finish: 5-25, 4-16 Atlantic Sun/11th 2010-11 Postseason: N/A (Last season of NCAA reclassification period ... The Spartans will be eligible for postseason play in the 2011-12 season.) Final AP Ranking: N/A 2010-11 Season Notable: Torrey Craig was named Atlantic Sun Freshman of the Year and was a unanimous selection to the Atlantic Sun All-Freshman Team ... Freshman Babatunde Olumuyiwa had 71 blocks last season, placing him third in the Upstate record books for blocks in a season. Top Returners: Torrey Craig (So./F/6-6/200/Rock Hill, SC) 14.4 ppg, 7.2 rpg; Babatunde Olumuyiwa (So./F/6-8/210/Athens, GA) 6.5 ppg, 4.7 rpg, 2.4 bpg; Ricardo Glenn (R-So./F/6-8/254/Augusta GA) 5.4 ppg, 5.6 rpg Did You Know? Head Coach Eddie Payne was a part of George Felton's coaching staff at South Carolina from 1986-91. Series Record: South Carolina leads, 2-0 (most recently met during the 2010-11 season)
SC State (Jan. 3, Colonial Life Arena) Head Coach: Tim Carter (58-70 in four seasons at SC State, 248-222 in 15 seasons overall) 2010-11 Record/Conference Finish: 10-22, 5-11 MEAC/9th 2010-11 Postseason: Loss to Bethune-Cookman in the quarterfinals of the MEAC tournament Final AP Ranking: N/A 2010-11 Season Notable: Senior guard Darnell Porter - who led the Bulldogs with 16 points last season versus South Carolina - led SC State in 2010-11 in 3-pointers (44) and shot 80.0 percent from the free throw line. Top Returners: Brandon Riley (Sr./G/F/6-2/185/Eatonton, GA) 9.4 ppg, 2.5 rpg; Khalif Tombs (Jr./G/5-9/180/Atlantic City, NJ) 7.0 ppg, 3.1 apg; Omar Sanders (Sr./F/6-8/210/Spartanburg, SC) 7.1 ppg, 4.9 rpg Did You Know? As a Division I head coach, Tim Carter has placed top-three in league play in 10 of 15 seasons. Series Record: South Carolina leads, 17-0 (most recently met during the 2010-11 season)
Information compiled by Assistant Media Relations Director Emily Feeney and Media Relations Student Assistant Megan Mabry