South Carolina Basketball: Fans, media overreacting to Gamecocks' bad week

After South Carolina basketball got blown out by Auburn and lost to LSU at home, the reactions have been a bit too strong.

South Carolina basketball coach Lamont Paris
South Carolina basketball coach Lamont Paris / Jeff Blake-USA TODAY Sports

South Carolina basketball fans are not happy with how last week went for their favorite team. After a 21-3 start to the season, the Gamecocks had gotten up to #11 in the country before suffering significant setbacks over the last five days. USC suffered through an embarrassment on the road against Auburn and a home loss to a struggling LSU team.

There are plenty of reasons for pessimism regarding the team after what was seen on the court this past week.

The defense that allowed the Gamecocks to play a slow, methodical style of offense all season has been failing. The D has allowed at least 1 point-per-possession in their last 5 games, and the 101-point explosion from Auburn was so bad that Lamont Paris told the media he instructed his team to "flush it" and act as if it didn't happen. The already turnover-starved Carolina defense has been forcing even fewer giveaways from their opponents of late, as well.

The offense has never been elite, but it has been efficient and has avoided major mistakes. That is also changing (and not for the better). Steady point guard Ta'Lon Cooper had two bad games in a row, Meechie Johnson had a scoreless game in a 1-point loss (and left late with a possible concussion), and the mental mistakes were abundant across the roster.

No one other than freshman Collin Murray-Boyles looked like they belonged on both offense and defense against the more athletic Auburn and LSU teams.

Obviously, it was a bad week for South Carolina basketball, and concern is warranted.

However, many of the reactions to Coach Paris' team have been too strong.

Outcries from the fanbase of "[Insert player's name here] needs to be benched!," "The Gamecocks turned back into a pumpkin," "Carolina peaked too early," and "We just blew our NCAA Tournament chances!" were commonly heard refrains from disgruntled garnet and black supporters.

College basketball media personalities are abandoning Lamont Paris' team faster than one can remind them that the Gamecocks are still in the top-4 of the SEC.

After South Carolina basketball fans gave him a hard time for taking too long to rank their favorite team the first time, national analyst Seth Davis must have been giddy that the Gamecocks lost as he removed them completely from his top-25 and did not even have them listed in his "almost famous" section reserved for teams close to the rankings.'s Andy Katz moved the Gamecocks from 8th in his "Power-36" rankings all the way down to 25th. His only analysis on the team in the article was that Carolina was "starting to slip."

Not everyone believes the sky is falling in Columbia, though.

ESPN's Jeff Borzello had a level-headed take on the situation. Borzello dropped the Gamecocks out of his top-16 power rankings but still had them "In the Waiting Room" and acknowledged that they have a real chance to respond positively this week. USC was #10 in the power rankings heading into last week, so shifting them from somewhere between 17 and 22 feels about right.

The country's premier "Bracketologist," ESPN's Joe Lunardi, still has the Gamecocks labeled as a "lock" for the NCAA Tournament.

Monday's new AP poll was pretty fair, too. South Carolina deserved to drop in the rankings, but they've also earned the benefit of the doubt that they can turn things around in the next week or two. Slotting in at #20 (they are also 20th in the USA Today Coaches Poll) is fair positioning for the 21-5 Gamecocks, but opportunities to move up or even out of those rankings could present themselves soon.

South Carolina basketball fans have every right to be worried about their team after a bad week, but the season isn't over yet, and the Gamecocks have a chance to bounce back with road games against Ole Miss and Texas A&M over the next ten days.

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