A couple hours after Saturday's home loss to Baylor, the members of the USC men's basketball team met at the home of senior Brandis Raley-Ross. No coaches, just players taking stock.
The shock of losing two key players, and the downward slide that has gone with it, may have worn off. Now, the seniors feel, it's time to react properly.
"We've gotta change some things," Raley-Ross told the media Monday. "We've gotta be a dog-out, you know, fight-it-out team. So we're gonna approach every game like that now."
The meeting was less about Xs and Os than about the mentality the team needs. Too many players had underperformed in certain games, Raley-Ross said. Now, with Dominique Archie lost to a knee injury and Mike Holmes dismissed from the team, everybody needs to show up every night.
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But what about the team's play? Does less depth mean a change in philosophy?
Elsewhere in the SEC East, Tennessee is doing just that following the suspension of four key players, including star Tyler Smith, after a gun arrest. The Volunteers play a fast, trapping style, just like the Gamecocks, but Vols coach Bruce Pearl said Monday he will have to dial it down.
"We'll have to pull back on the pressing," Pearl said. "We won't be able to wear anybody out but ourselves. There will be some definite adjustments to the style of play."
South Carolina's situation is a little less dire, but while no system overhaul is planned, there will be some adjustments on each end, coach Darrin Horn indicated Monday.
On offense, expect more patience in the half-court set. The Gamecocks' tried 26 more shots against Baylor, yet lost by 11. The shot selection needs to be better since the chances to get the rebound have diminished without Archie or Holmes.
"Maybe in the past on a possession we weren't great offensively, we had more athletes out there, we were deeper, we could get an offensive rebound or go make a play," Horn said. "That part of it, margin-wise, isn't there (anymore)."
Another change could be a concerted effort to get certain players the ball. Horn singled out Raley-Ross, who only got eight of those 83 shots against Baylor but is now USC's No. 2 option behind Devan Downey.
Defensively, USC will not dial it down like Tennessee. Instead it will be the opposite. Horn believes the team's trapping has been better recently, and with the team now smaller, it needs those transition chances to make up for the decreased low-post baskets.
"The past couple of weeks we've been one of the best trapping teams that I've seen," Raley-Ross said. "Coach has put an emphasis on that in defense, guys are buying into that. I think we're going to be doing that more."
The makeover, whether it's drastic or not, begins tonight when USC hosts Longwood. SEC play arrives on Saturday with a visit to Auburn.
Energy and defense are already supposed to be a key to the Gamecocks. Recent events have just made that clearer.
"We've gotta be scrappy," Horn said. "We've gotta play hard. We've gotta win the hustle plays. We've gotta be that in order to be good. That's an identity and a mentality that is way bigger than Xs and Os or projecting any numbers."