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March 10, 2006

Tre' Kelley

Dave Odom

Rocky Trice


THE MODERATOR: We'll let the coach speak first, and then have questions for the players.

COACH DAVE ODOM: When you look at the game today in it's whole, you have to say we executed in all the important areas. Inbounding the ball versus pressure, transporting the ball to the other end, completing plays in a fractured court. That is 2 on 2, 4 on 3. Completing plays as they got the ball, we were able to get our defense back intact, five men playing as one.
I thought change of defense, I think kept them off tried a little bit. I've always felt that Chris Lofton is a much better second-half player than he is the first. I think what he does in the first half is he let's the others plays and if he's -- his best shooting effort is needed in the second half, he gives it. He tried just wasn't -- it wasn't there today for him. I would certainly give our players a lot of credit for that. The guy on my far right down there, Rocky, tries; you know, coming off the sick bed two days ago, gave him the assignment of matching up with Chris, and again I can't tell you how much respect we have for him as a player and as a shooter.
But Rocky gave his best effort today defensively. I thought he was sensational in everything he did, but there were times that he had to trade him off and guys like Tarence and Brandon and those guys did a great job as well.
Glen, when you look at it, I thought probably the key thing was that we played smart. We played smart basketball. We looked like we knew what we were supposed to do, and as a coach, the two things that make you proudest are you play hard and you play smart. I think we did both today, and I think our players desired to win.

THE MODERATOR: We'll take questions for Tre' and Rocky. If you have a question for either of them, raise your hand and we'll get a microphone to you.

Let's start right in the front middle.
Q. Rocky, can you just talk about guarding Lofton, and did you sense any frustration with him?
ROCKY TRICE: Well, mainly I just followed the game plan as given me in the locker room. Like coach said, I couldn't help off but -- like C.Y. Watson, he's a great driver, you know, so I couldn't help. Mainly I just stayed out -- mainly it was a team effort on defensive end.
Q. Did you sense any frustration?
ROCKY TRICE: I think I did. He was rushing a couple shots and {SOEUPG} for his shot a lot.

THE MODERATOR: Other questions, raise your hand for either of the players.

Did you have one?

Q. Tre', what about your performance and all the points and was this victory being considered the toughest one you've had during the {owing} scene.
TRE' KELLEY: Tonight I just wanted to stay within the offense and let the game come to me impossible. I didn't try to force anything. I did have a couple of turnovers where I was trying to kick out, but I really wasn't trying to force anything. I think that was key to the night I had. I took open shots, and when I got to the free throw line, I made free throws. I found the open man when he was open, and I think that was key to my great game tonight.

THE MODERATOR: Okay. I think we had another one on the same side.

Go ahead, Jon.
Q. I'd like to ask the players, you guys shot 70 percent in the second half. A lot of layups. As the coach said, you handled the 3 on 2 a lot. Can you tell us a little bit about how were you able to break them down and get those easy shots.

THE MODERATOR: Tre', that one first.

TRE' KELLEY: Got the ball to the middle of the floor. We created 3 on 2s and 2 on 1s. Everybody passed the ball well tonight. Everybody who received the passes finished. I think that was really key for us tonight. After we got it in on the first pass, we sliced through the middle and got the ball to the guys who were slicing and we just got it running. We had a fast-paced game tonight on offense. Those guys finished laysups that was good for us.

THE MODERATOR: Same for Rocky.

ROCKY TRICE: Basically we followed the game plan. We knew they were going to press and the coach said attack the scorer. That's what we did.

THE MODERATOR: Hands up? Have another one. Okay.

Q. Tre', how much did the first two games against Tennessee play into your guys' mental approach today?
TRE' KELLEY: It was a really defensive match highly for us tonight. We knew we had to score the ball to win. It was really defensive. We had to get on the shooters. We couldn't really help much off of Lofton. Like Rocky said, we had to rebound the ball, boxout and rebound.
We had to make him put the ball on the floor, Lofton, and that was real good for us. We made aggressive shots. C.J. Watson had a great game tonight. We kind of played good on everyone else and not let anyone else get off. Month.

THE MODERATOR: Got time for a couple more right in the middle here.

Q. Question for Tre'. Tre', do you see yourself as the key to this team? It seems when you put up numbers similar to what you had today, that USC's chances to win go up.
TRE' KELLEY: Not at all. It's all about the team. I just play with those guys. I try to play off them. Coach tells me to let them help me and that will be more of me helping them.
If I let them help me it would be good. It's all a team effort, offensively and defensively. No one player on this team. Got a lot of great guys on the team. Lot a great of defenders and rebounders, lot of great shooters. All a team effort.

THE MODERATOR: Last question.

Q. Tre', did you guys -- didn't you guys really want Tennessee after what happened the first two games and was there any point in the second half where you guys were up 15, 17, did somebody go, "Not again", don't -- you had 15 point lead up there, South Carolina?
TRE' KELLEY: I didn't -- I don't think nobody really came into the game thinking we need payback or something like that. We just wanted to come in and play our game, listen to the coaches. They prepared us well. Off one day, we didn't have that much time to prepare for these guys. We definitely listened to what they had to say.
They gave us a game plan and we really focused on our game plan. I think this was key for us. We went to the game plan. I worked for us.

THE MODERATOR: Okay. We'll excuse the players. You can return to the locker room. Thank you very much.

We'll continue on with Coach Odom if you have a question for the Coach, if you'll raise your hand we'll get a microphone to you. Let's start right in the middle.
Q. Coach, do you have any concerns about fatigue going into tomorrow's I am game?
COACH DAVE ODOM: Well, certainly we will. No question about it. There's only so much you can do about it. The first thing do you about it is talk to them from a positive standpoint that they're not going to be tired.
I mean you never -- I never want to send a team on the court fatigued or unprepared. There's only so much -- so many things you can do better at there point because you don't have a long time to prepare but we have enough time.
We have equal amount of time. Then the other thing is from a fatigue standpoint what we can do is get fluid in them, get food in them, get rest for them and then load it up and let's go between.
I think the way we talk to them will determine, you know, the amount of fatigue that they allow their body to admit to.
Yes, I'm concerned about it but not to the point that I think it's going to be our undoing anymore than it will be any other team.


Q. Dave, is this kind of game that you kind of envisioned at the beginning of the year as how you would play?
COACH DAVE ODOM: Well, I certainly envisioned at the beginning of the year we would be able to beat anybody in our league and that would include all of the good teams.
Tennessee certainly has proven its mettle over the course of 16 conference games and beyond and, you know, so from that standpoint, the answer obviously is yes.
But, you know, sometimes it takes awhile to get to the point that you want to be at and I don't know.
I've always felt that a team is kind of like a slow baking cake. It just takes a little while to get it and to have it mature, if you will, or ripen if it's a fruit or get ready if it's a cake. I don't know. I'm getting into areas I don't know anything about cooking, but I do know about a team and sometimes you can force it to move along but sometimes you can't.
What you got to do is keep coaching, keeping loving and keep picking. You keep doing those three things, eventually it will work out.

THE MODERATOR: Okay. Right here.

Q. Yeah. Dave another fatigue related question. Specifically as it relates to Tre', I mean have you got a really good to watch his minutes a little bit maybe tomorrow?
COACH DAVE ODOM: I'll watch his minutes in the off-season. I'm not going watch them right now. I'm not too worried about that. My coaches remind me all the time get rest for Tre', guest rest for Tre', get rest for Tre'. They do a good job of that. Sometimes I listen on that, sometimes I don't.
That's going to be a decision I'll make deep down inside my belly. When it's time to rest him, I'll I'll know it. When it's not, he'll stay out there. I do think it was time to take him out in the first half. He took the ill-advised shot and made the one turnover on the other end going the other way.
I thought it was time to take him out a minute and just like it was for Renaldo when he made two mistakes. Take them out, remind them that we've got to play mistake-free basketball, and that's everybody.
I would say one thing. I mean, I heard somebody say something about points in the paint and there were a couple of things here are are really, really important. You didn't ask me. I'm going to tell you anyway.
One of them is Tennessee is the top team in our league over 16 games, assist to turnover ratio. When you look at what happened today, they made 21 turnovers on 12 assists. It flipped, big, big, big factor in South Carolina's favor, big factor. 21 and 12 the other way.
Because they do a great job of forcing turnovers and making assists. Didn't happen today. Second thing, I look down there where it says points in the paint, South Carolina 40, Tennessee 22.
Now, that is a misleading bit of verbiage in that yes, we got 40 points in the paint; yes, they only had 22, but it wasn't throw the ball into the paint and power basketball.
What that was is fractured basketball plays that we completed that came in the lane, and those are very, very important against a team like Tennessee.
If you can get the ball in and you can get on attack, there's plenty of room to complete plays. Unfortunately, some teams backed off. Maybe we did during the year. I don't know. But we didn't today, and that's a key, key factor, those two, as well as obviously free throws.

THE MODERATOR: Let's go back to the middle right here.

Q. You've spoken highly of Dane Bradshaw in the past. It looked like you guys contained him pretty well today?
COACH DAVE ODOM: Well, you know, I just have the world of respect for him. I saw him wince a couple times with that right wrist of his. I believe it was his right arm. He had that black-looking tape or almost cast-like protective device on it. I asked him after the game about it. He said, "Coach, I'm going to have surgery." Probably I shouldn't say that. None of my business to release that. I didn't mean to do that. If I said something wrong, Tennessee, I apologize.
You know, I think right now, you know, he's hampered by his wrist. He's playing just as hard, and he's playing almost as well, but let's face it, when you've got a bad wrist, that doesn't give you the opportunity to do some of the things that you normally would do. He hit the first 3 of the game. I was disappointed we didn't stop that.
That was one of the things we talked about in our pregame on the inbounds, they back him up. Last second resort or last chance resort, he shoots the 3 and we were right there for it. Didn't stop it.
He's a great player. I happened to think he's better playing in the 4 than he is at the 3. Patterson is such a great player. They got to get him in. They're doing what they got to do.

THE MODERATOR: Okay. Go ahead.

Q. Dave, could you just kind of reflect a bit on the opportunity in front of you guys? You're one victory away from playing for a championship.
COACH DAVE ODOM: Well, Barry Booker who did the TV interview after the became, Barry Booker said on camera, "Coach, I want to ask you a question. Do you think you got two more games in you?"
I said to him, "Barry, I'm a better interviewer than you."
He said, "Why?"
I said, "Because I would ask you if you were the coach, do you have one more game in you?" Anybody that knows anything about coaches never looks at two games when you have the ability and the right to look at one, and that's the way it is.
We've got one game, and tomorrow is our championship game. The championship game is not Sunday unless we get to it. Tomorrow is our championship game. It's all or nothing. We've got to put everything we've got into that, and then we'll see what we have left if we have the opportunity to get into it Sunday game.

THE MODERATOR: Question in the back.

Q. Dave, where do you see Renaldo with his consistency at this point and how important is it for him to get off to a good start in terms of his energy and what he does? It seems like his success reflects a lot on your successful team?
COACH DAVE ODOM: Obviously, he plays well when he's energized and when he feels needed, and his teammates feed off of that as well. I will tell you also I coach better when he's playing good. I do because I'm not distracted by having to correct things that shouldn't have to be corrected at this time of the year.
I'm the least important of that equation, but by -- it is important that I feel good with him out on the court, and he knows that. So it is -- you know, it is important that he do well, and it's important that he play like he can play and today was another one of those good games. We'd were able to feed off of that for sure.

THE MODERATOR: We have time for two more. There and we'll be back to the front.

Q. Dave, based on the first two games and then today, did you feel that Tennessee's legs, energy level, those things, even tense city matched what they did the first two games or could you sense that that's a tired basketball team out there?
COACH DAVE ODOM: Well, I mean let's face it, now they press every possession for 30 plus games and you know, no matter how much you try to rest them and no matter how much you tell them they're not tired, you know -- I think sometimes you give into fatigue when you're in the playing well and I think not playing well comes before fatigue, sometimes.
When the shots don't fall, you don't feel good, and that may have been just as much they didn't play well today as it was they were tired today. I mean I don't see them being overly tired. They played here in Nashville last sat. I'm sure they had Sunday off. They could have conceivably also had Monday off. I don't know what they did but I mean that wouldn't be out of, you know, -- out of character if a coach gives a guy two days off, just this time of year which is certainly enough for young guys 20 years old to get their legs back.
My guess is -- I mean, Tennessee will play better in the NCAA tournament than they played today as most teams do at this level. I mean everybody is worried about duke right now. Duke will play better in the NCAA tournament than they do in the ACC tournament, I promise you because what happens is you get away from people that know you best and, you know, in J.J. Reddick's case, they're going to have to relearn what he does or learn on-the-job what he does.
In Tennessee's case, Chris Lofton can be just as big a nightmare. So they'll play well next week, I'm confident of it. I wouldn't worry about fatigue if I was Bruce Pearl.
Lot of coaches will say it's a blessing we lost in the first round, we're going home. Don't believe that. Nobody wants -- nobody -- I don't care if he said it or not. Nobody wants to lose, nobody.

THE MODERATOR: Last question right here in the front.

Q. Coach, do you ever recall having a team shoot 70 percent in a half?
COACH DAVE ODOM: Oh, yeah. Team I played on hit 14 for 15 my senior year. You cover that game? Gilford vs. Atlantic christian in the second half in Wilson, 14 for 15. That beats 70 everyday. True story..

THE MODERATOR: The answer to the question is yes.

Q. How about since then?

THE MODERATOR: Okay. We're done. Thank you.

End of FastScripts...

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