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September 12, 2012
Some games had already been agreed to under the previous administration. Some were set in stone. Some were decided by the conference.
Frank Martin did what he could to fill in the rest, and came up with a schedule that will allow his young team to feel its way into the first year of his regime.
"We're excited to release our first non-conference schedule at South Carolina," Martin said in a statement. "Several home contests and early-season travel will challenge us to grow and prepare for the 18-game SEC schedule ahead of us."
The Gamecocks, with the loss of three of their top four scorers from a year ago and the fourth (Bruce Ellington) not returning to the team until late November at the earliest, will be depending on their four newcomers to help USC get off to a good start. USC returns several players with experience, but not many that are dependable scorers, and if the Gamecocks are going to offer any hope of being competitive this year, they'll need to start off well and continue it through the non-conference schedule before the SEC games occur.
The schedule is designed to do that. While it won't win any prizes for RPI or strength, it can get the Gamecocks off to a great start, perhaps a double-digit win-total start (which would make it nearly a shoo-in to top last year's 10 wins), and at least inject some confidence as the murderous 18-game SEC slate awaits.
USC will warm up against Kentucky Wesleyan, as it has for the past four years, then open the year against Wisconsin-Milwaukee at home. The UWM game, part of the Gamecocks' four-game participation in the Hoops for Hope Classic, will feature two games in Columbia and two games in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico.
USC plays Morgan State before hosting Rider as another game in the Hoops for Hope Classic, then hosts Elon. The Phoenix beat USC in Elon last year to start the march toward a coaching change.
The Gamecocks will head to Mexico to finish the Hoops for Hope Classic, where they'll tangle with first Missouri State and then either SMU or Arkansas-Little Rock. The Mustangs are led by veteran coach Larry Brown in his return to the college ranks.
USC's participation in the SEC-Big East Challenge is next, and will be played at the Red Storm's Carnesecca Arena, not Madison Square Garden. The Gamecocks return home for three straight games in December, starting with archrival Clemson and followed by Jacksonville and Appalachian State, which is coached by former North Carolina standout Jason Capel.
USC heads back to New York for a meeting with Manhattan at the Barclays Center, home of the Brooklyn Nets, then finishes the non-conference schedule with home games against Presbyterian and S.C. State. The 18-game SEC slate begins four days later at Mississippi State, which also had a coaching change during the offseason.
USC BASKETBALL SCHEDULE, 2012-13
Oct. 30 KENTUCKY WESLEYAN (Exh.)
Nov. 11 WISCONSIN-MILWAUKEE (Hoops for Hope Classic)
Nov. 16 MORGAN STATE
Nov. 19 RIDER (Hoops for Hope Classic)
Nov. 21 ELON
Nov. 24 vs. Missouri State (Hoops for Hope Classic, at Puerto Vallarta, Mexico)
Nov. 25 vs. Arkansas-Little Rock/SMU (Hoops for Hope Classic, at Puerto Vallarta, Mexico)
Nov. 29 at St. John's (SEC-Big East Challenge)
Dec. 2 CLEMSON
Dec. 7 JACKSONVILLE
Dec. 19 APPALACHIAN STATE
Dec. 22 vs. Manhattan (at Brooklyn, N.Y.)
Dec. 29 PRESBYTERIAN
Jan. 5 S.C. STATE
Jan. 9 at Mississippi State*, 8 p.m.
Jan. 12 AUBURN*, 1:30 p.m.
Jan. 16 at LSU*, TBD
Jan. 19 VANDERBILT*, 1:30 p.m.
Jan. 22 at Missouri*, 7 p.m.
Jan. 26 ARKANSAS*, 1:30 p.m.
Jan. 30 at Florida*, 8 p.m.
Feb. 2 GEORGIA*, 1:30 p.m.
Feb. 5 at Kentucky*, 9 p.m.
Feb. 10 TENNESSEE*, 1 p.m.
Feb. 14 LSU*, 7 p.m.
Feb. 16 at Alabama*, 4 p.m.
Feb. 20 OLE MISS*, 7 p.m.
Feb. 23 at Georgia*, 2 p.m.
Feb. 28 MISSOURI*, 9 p.m.
March 2 at Texas A&M*, 7 p.m.
March 6 MISSISSIPPI STATE*, 7 p.m.
March 9 at Vanderbilt*, 1:30 p.m.
March 13-17 SEC tournament (at Nashville, Tenn.)
Home games in CAPS