Last season the Spartans finished 5th in the A-Sun with just a .500 mark in conference play. Then after defeating Jacksonville in the quarterfinals, Eddie Payne's squad couldn't get over the hump and lost A-Sun powerhouse Mercer. That has been the same story for the Spartans the last few seasons as they have failed to get past the semifinals.
Now with Torrey Craig, Ricardo Glenn, and Jodd Maxey all in their last season, this a make or break year for the Spartans. Especially for Craig, who is a two time A-Sun Player of the Year but has little post season success to show for it.
USC Upstate (HC Eddie Payne, Torrey Craig, Ricardo Glenn)
"I say there is a sense of urgency. Last year and previous years we felt we were so close and just couldn't put the nail in the coffin. This year we have been working towards it and since it's are last year we are going to go all out, lay it out on the floor and see what we can do." -Torrey Craig
"Position for position, we are just as talented and athletic as Mercer and Florida Gulf Coast. I think we can compete with them. I think we can beat them. They are obviously two great teams and we are right there with them." -Torrey Craig
"I say they [freshman] will all pretty much have the same impact. Josh Cuthbertson he rebounds and can score. He is a big guard, pretty athletics. Austin is the same way. Karim Mawuenyega is our point guard but he has skills. He can get to the rim, he can finish...Mike Buchanan is a big guy, he is learning to be more aggressive towards the rim. If he does that he will have a big impact as well. So to me I think they all pretty much have the same its just if they can bring it or not." - Ricardo Glenn
"Our point guard play is somewhat of a concern. What were trying to get across to these young men is that they need to play mistake free, they don't necessarily need to make plays. They need to not make mistakes." -Eddie Payne
"Probably the best thing we have going for us is quality people who give a solid effort everyday in practice, the weight room. That helps build consistency and establish a way of doing business" -Eddie Payne
Upstate will have an immediate chance to prove that they are in the upper echelon of A-Sun teams as they travel to Blacksburg, VA to take on the Virginia Tech Hokies on Saturday November 9.