USC not overlooking Wofford
COLUMBIA -- The first thing that jumps out to you about Wofford is the Terriers' record. An NCAA team a year ago, Wofford has started the season with four wins -- and five losses.
But that in no way indicates what sort of team is coming to the Colonial Life Arena today at 7 p.m. to face a South Carolina team that's on a five-game winning streak.
Gamecocks coach Darrin Horn is well aware.
"They've been in big games. They've played a tough schedule," Horn said Friday. "We've got a challenge on our hands."
Wofford's losses have come to Minnesota, Clemson, Georgetown, Air Force and Xavier. Those teams are either ranked or have been to the NCAA tournament in recent seasons.
South Carolina can't offer that last statement. Wofford, though, can.
The Southern Conference champions last season, the Terriers gave fourth-seeded Wisconsin all it could handle in the first round of the NCAA tournament.
Included on Wofford's 2009-10 NCAA resume: A 68-61 home victory against South Carolina.
The Terriers outhustled the Gamecocks, who were still learning how to play without injured forward Dominique Archie.
Asked about the game Friday, Horn was essentially dismissive. He wanted nothing to do with revisiting it.
"I haven't thought about it, haven't talked about it," Horn said. "This is a totally different team, totally different situation. We're focused on this year's game and this year's team."
While the "new team" concept might be true with the Gamecocks, who regularly start three newcomers, it isn't the case at all with Wofford.
The Terriers intend to start four seniors and a junior -- the nucleus from last season's 26-9 NCAA participant.
Horn very rarely praises individual players from other teams. Typically, he guides the conversation toward general team strengths -- and not one player's ability.
But he was quite enthusiastic Friday in his comments about Wofford 6-6 senior Noah Dahlman.
"He's a winner. Simply put, Dahlman's a winner," Horn said. "He's not the most talented, not the biggest, not the strongest or most athletic. He goes out and outworks people to get what he gets. ... I have tremendous respect for his game."
Dahlman had a double-double (19 points, 11 rebounds) in the win against USC last season. He's currently the SoCon player of the week, coming off a stretch that included a career-high 37 points against Elon.
Tonight's game is South Carolina's last at home until Dec. 29. The Gamecocks, however, do play at Furman on Dec. 22.
A Dec. 18 game at Ohio State, on WCSC-TV, rounds out the month's remaining schedule.