South Carolina Basketball: ESPN puts Gamecocks (and rival Tigers) on upset alert in NCAA Tournament

South Carolina basketball was put on upset alert by ESPN in their NCAA Tournament 1st round matchup against Oregon.

South Carolina basketball wing Zach Davis
South Carolina basketball wing Zach Davis / Petre Thomas-USA TODAY Sports
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On Tuesday, South Carolina basketball was put on "upset alert" by ESPN's John Gasaway and Keith Lipscomb, slotting in as the #2-most likely team to be upset in the 1st round of the NCAA Tournament.

Gasaway and Lipscomb, whose predictive model is known as "Giant Killers," predict the Gamecocks to lose to the Oregon Ducks because Oregon is "peaking in March" and is undefeated in the 1st round of the NCAA Tournament under head coach Dana Altman.

They also argue that South Carolina basketball does not have the best player in the game but that Oregon big N'Faly Dante will be the top player on the court. The 6'11" 5th-year senior is averaging 16.2 points, 8.8 rebounds, 1.5 assists, 1.9 blocks, and 1.7 steals per game. Freshman Collin Murray-Boyles and the other Gamecock frontcourt members will have their hands full with Dante.

On the one hand, South Carolina being good enough to be on "upset alert" is a big-time step forward for the program in year 2 of the Lamont Paris era. Picked last in the preseason SEC standings, the Gamecocks have overachieved expectations every step of the way this season, and fans of the garnet and black should be ecstatic with how things went for the 2023-2024 version of their favorite team, no matter what happens against Oregon.

On the other hand, the Gamecocks have had a lot of doubters this year, and a 1st round exit in the NCAA Tournament would only validate the criticisms that have surrounded Lamont Paris' team this year. Plus, a win sets a new South Carolina basketball record for single-season wins. A loss now would feel like a disappointment for those reasons.

The only team ranked higher on Giant Killers' upset alert scale is the rival Clemson Tigers. Gasaway and Lipscomb project 6-seed Clemson to lose to 11-seed New Mexico in their 1st round game, going as far as to say that New Mexico is a "straight-up favorite."

Next. South Carolina Basketball: Gamecocks to offer behind-the-scenes coverage of NCAA Tournament journey on CBS and TNT. South Carolina Basketball: Gamecocks to offer behind-the-scenes coverage of NCAA Tournament journey on CBS and TNT. dark