South Carolina basketball: Gamecocks still scheduled to face Clemson

South Carolina guard Jair Bolden(52), left, and Clemson guard Tevin Mack(13).
South Carolina guard Jair Bolden(52), left, and Clemson guard Tevin Mack(13). /

The South Carolina basketball team is scheduled to face Clemson on the hardwood this December.

The Gamecocks and Tigers have met on the court every year since the 1976-77 season. The all-time series is tight, with the Tigers holding a slight 55-52 advantage. Last year, the Gamecocks ended a three-game skid, knocking off Brad Brownell’s group in Littlejohn Coliseum by a score of 67-54.

This year seemed somewhat in doubt as the Coronavirus pandemic has made scheduling in college athletics extremely difficult, in all sports.

The Gamecocks have already seen their annual date with Clemson on the football field cancelled, ending a series streak of 111 consecutive meetings, the longest out-of-conference streak in all of college football. The two rivals got some good news yesterday, though, as it looks as if their matchup on the hardwood is safe.

CBS insider Jon Rothstein announced that the Clemson v. South Carolina basketball game is still scheduled for December 19th in the Colonial Life Arena.

With the SEC choosing to move forward with an all-league slate for football, it was unclear if officials would do the same with basketball. The Gamecocks have yet to release a 2020-21 season schedule, but this report gives hope that out-of-conference play will occur. The NCAA has announced that the season will start on November 25th.

Both programs have reached the NCAA Tournament over last few seasons, with Clemson playing its way to the Sweet 16 in 2018 before losing to top-seeded Kansas. South Carolina made it all the way to the Final Four the year prior.

The Gamecocks will hope to capture some more of that postseason magic in the upcoming season, as they return a great core of talent, particularly at the guard position. Leading scorer AJ Lawson is back, after mulling over a decision to join the NBA draft, as are Jermaine Couisnard, Justin Minaya, Keyshawn Bryant, and Trae Hannibal.

Transfer Seventh Woods also joins the Gamecocks’ backcourt, and he should be familiar with the Clemson program going back to his time at the University of North Carolina.

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Other out-of-conference matchups originally slated for the Gamecocks include contests with Army, Houston, George Washington, Radford, and Western Carolina. Frank Martin’s group was also set to play in the Hall of Fame Classic alongside California, Northwestern, and TCU on November 23rd and 24th. It remains to be seen what will happen with those matchups.