South Carolina basketball looks better than it has in years. Coach Lamont Paris has his squad defying expectations and in position to make the NCAA Tournament this March. After being picked to finish dead last in the SEC by the media this fall, Paris' Gamecocks are 17-3 and 5-2 in SEC play with impressive wins over Kentucky, Grand Canyon, Mississippi State, Virginia Tech, and Arkansas.
As the wins have continued to pile up for USC, the normally reserved Paris has come out with a lot to say about his team and their national perception. As the kids say, "Lamont Paris kept the recepits."
He has been asked a lot over the past three games about his team's potential spot in the top-25 rankings.
After beating Arkansas, Paris said he felt that his team was deserving of a spot but that it wasn't that important in the grand scheme of things.
After dominating Kentucky the next time out, the tone changed a bit. When SECNetwork's Alyssa Lang caught up with the South Carolina basketball headman, she asked about the top-25, and Paris responded with a straight-to-the-point answer: "If we're not [ranked in the top-25], that's a problem."
He took things up another level after his team beat Missouri for their third straight win. When asked yet again about AP poll voters, Paris simply said, "If they like us, they like us. If they don't, they will pay the price...everyone's been waiting all year to find out if South Carolina basketball is good or not...they were telling the world back in November that we aren't any good." Coach Paris said that a top-25 rankings would be a "tremendous reward" for his team after demolishing the expectations of their doubters.