South Carolina Basketball: National analysts are finally giving the Gamecocks the respect they deserve

South Carolina basketball is finally receiving the national respect they deserve for their stellar 2023-2024 season.

South Carolina basketball coach Lamont Paris
South Carolina basketball coach Lamont Paris / Nelson Chenault-USA TODAY Sports
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In case you've been living under a rock, South Carolina basketball is really, really good. The Gamecocks are 21-3 overall and 9-2 in the SEC. No Southeastern Conference team in above them in the standings (they are tied with Alabama right now), and only Tennessee is ahead of the Gamecocks in the national rankings.

Lamont Paris is the runaway favorite to win SEC Coach of the Year and one of the favorites to win the award on the national level. His team has defied preseason expectations (picked 14th out of 14 by the SEC media and virtually every other projection) to be in contention to win the conference championship.

Only UConn (22-2) and Purdue (22-2) have fewer losses in major college basketball than USC, and they are the top-2 teams in the AP poll. Now ranked 11th, South Carolina basketball is starting to get the respect they deserve.

National analysts are finally catching on to the fact that the Gamecocks aren't a fluke. After weeks of questions like "What will happen when they play the hardest teams on the schedule?" (they've beaten Tennessee, Kentucky, and Grand Canyon) or "When will the Gamecocks slow down?" (they've won seven games in a row) or "What will Carolina do once they can't play their style of basketball?" (no one has gotten them off-schedule yet), the college basketball world has to admit that South Carolina basketball is the real deal, even if they look a bit different than most other top teams.

CBS Sports' Jon Rothstein, who didn't even rank the Gamecocks until two weeks ago, now has Lamont Paris' group inside the top-10 in his personal rankings. Fox Sports' John Fanta put Carolina in his top-10, as well. The same can be said of NCAA.com's Andy Katz and ESPN's Jeff Borzello.

Even Seth Davis, a national pundit who "forgot" to vote for the Gamecocks in last week's AP poll, has the CourtCocks slotted in as his #13 team, a little lower than most but significantly higher than the ugly "not ranked" beside their name in his top-25 last week.

Frankly, no one can know how this season will end up when they look at things right now. Will the Gamecocks make a Sweet 16 run to match their current place in the standings? That remains to be seen. However, based on their body of work, South Carolina basketball belongs among the elite teams in the sport, and it's about time that they are getting the love they deserve.

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