Leading up to Thursday night's College Gameday game of the week between Kim Mulkey's LSU Tigers and Dawn Staley's South Carolina basketball squad, the LSU head coach was asked about the big game.
For most of Mulkey's press availability, she was very respectful of the Gamecocks and spoke highly of Coach Staley's team, saying that they were "as good as last year" when USC didn't lose a game until the Final Four. (Last season, Carolina dominated LSU in Columbia in the two teams' only matchup.)
During her press conference, though, Mulkey had some interesting thoughts on the state of the SEC's two best programs.
When asked if South Carolina basketball and LSU basketball were rivals, Mulkey dodged the question at first, arguing that some of the SEC's teams have clear in-conference rivals (Alabama-Auburn, Ole Miss-Miss St, etc.) but she didn't know who LSU's rival could be.
Mulkey concluded that the Tigers and Gamecocks weren't rivals and that both teams have "bigger games" ahead of them. Frankly, the LSU head coach is correct, but it isn't for the reason Mulkey suggested.
This matchup is not a rivalry; it is a domination in favor of South Carolina.
In fact, the Gamecocks have won 14 in a row in the series, including the only meeting last year. LSU hasn't won a regular season SEC championship since 2007-2008 or an SEC Tournament title since 2002-2003. South Carolina basketball, in the meantime, has won 7 regular season trophies and 7 tournament championships since 2013-2014.
South Carolina has two national championships (likely would have been 3 had it not been for the Covid-19 shutdown at the end of the 2019-2020 season), and LSU's lone championship came because the Gamecocks dropped the ball against Iowa the round before a rematch with the Bayou Bengals in the National Championship.
Could LSU beat the #1-ranked Gamecocks on Thursday and throw the first loss on USC's perfect record? Sure. The game is in Baton Rogue, and the Tigers were picked to win the SEC this preseason for a reason. However, until something different happens, fans should expect this non-rivalry to continue going the way it has gone the last decade.