South Carolina basketball fans had a great week last week. The men's team went 2-0 with a dominant win over 6th-ranked Kentucky, and the women won two games, as well, including a top-10 win on the road over LSU.
Love has been pouring in from the national media for both teams, but there weren't enough voters swayed to put Lamont Paris' squad in the top-25. Dawn Staley's team didn't have that problem as they started the week as the unanimous #1 team in the land.
An additional honor made its way to the women's team as the head coach was named the national coach of the week by ESPN's Michael Voepel.
Coach Staley was deserving of the award for many reasons, not the least of which was the fact that she outdueled Kim Mulkey in Baton Rouge to give the preseason national championship favorites their third loss of the season. The Gamecocks needed a boost after a lackluster 1st half, and the 2nd half saw USC outscore LSU by 11 and rebound the Tigers by 10. Whatever the 2-time national championship-winning coach said at halftime did the trick.
It is unsurprising that South Carolina basketball remains #1 in the ESPN power rankings, as well. The Gamecocks are the best team in college basketball, and a third national title seems like a reasonable expectation for the way the 2023-2024 season has gone.
The scariest bit (for other programs) about what Staley has accomplished in Columbia is that next year's team might be almost identical. While transfers Te-Hina Paopao and Sakima Walker would be eligible to pursue professional careers (they are 4th-year players), only post player Kamilla Cardoso is out of eligibility for the Gamecocks.
With three 5-star freshmen coming to Columbia in the 2024 class (one has already enrolled), arguably college basketball's best roster and best coach won't miss a beat, much to the delight of South Carolina basketball fans.