South Carolina Basketball: Finally! Gamecocks rightfully ranked in AP poll top-25

At long last, South Carolina basketball is among the ranks (literally) of the AP top-25.
South Carolina basketball guard Meechie Johnson
South Carolina basketball guard Meechie Johnson / Jeff Blake-USA TODAY Sports

Heading into the 2023-2024 season, South Carolina basketball had not been ranked since the 2016-2017 season. The Final Four campaign was the second year in a row in which the Gamecocks cracked the AP top-25, but there had been a long drought since that time. Frankly, there wasn't much reason to believe that would change this season.

However, in year 2 of the Lamont Paris era, the most surprising team in college basketball is the garnet and black-clad team from Columbia. After winning just 11 games (and tying a program record with 21 losses) in his first year in town, the Fighting Quarter Zips have already won 19 games at the halfway point of the conference schedule and are 2nd in the SEC standings.

Despite being snubbed the past several weeks from a rightfully-earned spot in the AP poll top-25, the Gamecocks kept winning and forced their way onto ballots this week. The voters could not ignore Carolina's recent 5-game win streak that included road wins at Arkansas, Georgia, and 5th-ranked Tennessee and home victories over Missouri and #6 Kentucky.

The South Carolina Gamecocks officially are ranked, slotting in at the #15 spot in the latest AP poll. It is the highest ranking the Gamecocks have had since the 1997-1998 squad led by BJ McKie.

The entire AP poll can be seen below:

  1. UConn Huskies
  2. Purdue Boilermakers
  3. North Carolina Tar Heels
  4. Kansas Jayhawks
  5. Houston Cougars
  6. Tennessee Volunteers
  7. Marquette Golden Eagles
  8. Arizona Wildcats
  9. Duke Blue Devils
  10. Illinois Fighting Illini
  11. Wisconsin Badgers
  12. Auburn Tigers
  13. Baylor Bears
  14. Iowa State Cyclones
  15. South Carolina Gamecocks
  16. Alabama Crimson Tide
  17. Kentucky Wildcats
  18. Dayton Flyers
  19. Creighton Blue Jays
  20. Florida Atlantic Owls
  21. BYU Cougars
  22. Utah State Aggies
  23. Texas Tech Red Raiders
  24. San Diego State Aztecs
  25. New Mexico Lobos

The Gamecocks also slotted in at #20 in the USAToday Coaches Poll, #9 in Andy Katz's Power-36, #8 in Jon Rothstein's Rothstein 45, and #15 in Jeff Borzello's top-30.

Next. South Carolina Basketball: National analyst, top-25 voter STILL leaves Gamecocks off ballot. South Carolina Basketball: National analyst, top-25 voter STILL leaves Gamecocks off ballot. dark