As of Wednesday, South Carolina basketball is one of fourteen programs to be undefeated (the men’s and women’s together are both undefeated as the University of South Carolina is one of just four schools with both men’s and women’s teams unbeaten).
The 7-0 Gamecocks have a high spot in the NET rankings (29th) built on the backs of good wins over Virginia Tech (neutral site), Grand Canyon (pseudo-road game in Arizona), Notre Dame (home), and George Washington (home), but they don’t have any great wins yet (though, the VT win eventually could move into the “great” category).
The first opportunity for a great win comes on Wednesday as the Gamecocks will travel to Clemson to take on the rival Tigers at 8:00 on the ACCNetwork and ESPN app.
In addition to in-state rivalry bragging rights and an undefeated record, a big leg up to an NCAA Tournament resume could be on the line tonight.
According to ESPN’s Joe Lunardi’s bracketology, both the Clemson Tigers and the South Carolina Gamecocks are in the NCAA Tournament picture. Lunardi has Clemson as a 4-seed in his early projections and has South Carolina basketball listed as one of the “first 4 out,” meaning that USC is just on the wrong side of the “NCAA bubble.”
A Lamont Paris victory over Brad Brownell on Wednesday night would move the Gamecocks firmly into the field as things stand today. As a matter of fact, if South Carolina basketball does pull off the mild upset against the Tigers, they will be favored the rest of the way through the out-of-conference schedule.
Even just being “on the bubble” is a major accomplishment for this year’s South Carolina basketball squad. As many Gamecock fans have tried to forget, USC tied a program record with 21 losses last season, and they lost a 5-star talent in GG Jackson. Yet, a postseason appearance seems within reach.
A 13-0 start to the season would go a long way in securing USC’s first NCAA Tournament berth since the 2016-2017 season, a year familiar to South Carolina basketball fans as the year the Gamecocks went to the Final Four.
Even with a loss, Lamont Paris’ team will have a reasonable opportunity to play their way into the postseason, but Gamecock fans sure would love a win over that team from Upstate anyway.