Watch Out Haters This Gamecocks MBB Team is Improving


The University of South Carolina has seen their sports program improve dramatically over the past few years.  The baseball team won back-to-back National Championships.  The football team finished 11-3 and in the top 10 three years in a row.  The women’s basketball team made it to the NCAA tourney and this year won the SEC tournament.  Last year, even the equestrian team finished #1 in the nation.  This amount of success across so many different sports has created a whole new level of enthusiasm across the Gamecock sports world.

However, with that level of success also brings new levels of expectations, and sometimes unrealistic expectations.  Sometimes people have forgotten that all that success did not come over night.  The men’s basketball team and  their coach are certainly feeling that from some people lately.

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Early on in the season the Gamecocks had some success in nonconference play including a huge victory over then #9 Iowa State. The Gamecocks won several straight early but then when they hit SEC play they started to struggle.  They were in a lot of their games and then would struggle at the very end and teams would either come back to win or the Gamecocks would get close and not have enough to pull it off.

It was at this point that some groups of fans flooded radio talk shows and Twitter calling for Frank Martin’s firing and saying that the Gamecocks should go ahead and move on.   Even though this wasn’t the majority of fans it definitely create in an aura of negativity that seem to spread. Even at SEC home games there were very few fans in the building especially compared to women’s basketball.  In fact the only game that seem to really have colonial life Arena filled was against Kentucky and the number one team in the nation and their fans seem to fill up half the arena.

Most likely these same people were hoping the Gamecocks would lose to Missouri in the first round of the SEC tournament so that would prove their point. However the Gamecocks not only beat Missouri but then followed up last night with a win over six seed Mississippi. The Gamecocks lead all but two minutes and even though still required a last-second miracle, they won nonetheless. And in tournament play being able to come back the next night and play again is all that really matters.

So at this point the Gamecocks move on to the quarterfinals against the University of Georgia to whom they have already beaten twice this season and they are guaranteed to have a winning season for the first time in six years.  This is certainly not the pinnacle of success by any means. But anyone who has watched this program over the years and know what shape it was in when Coach Frank Martin took over just a few short years ago, knows that this is serious progress.  Combine this progress with the recruiting class coming in for next season and there’s a significant chance of even more progress next season. The success and wins won’t shut up the haters but it may quiet them down just a little bit and allow the rest of us to enjoy the games a little bit more.

The Gamecocks take on the Georgia Bulldogs Friday night around 9:30 PM.