South Carolina Basketball: 3 thumbs up from a great season

South Carolina basketball had one of the best seasons in all of college basketball this year, and fans should be encouraged about what Lamont Paris can build.

South Carolina basketball coach Lamont Paris
South Carolina basketball coach Lamont Paris / Gregory Fisher-USA TODAY Sports
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South Carolina basketball fans were hoping that the Gamecocks could go on another magical run through March after Lamont Paris inexplicably led his team to the NCAA Tournament in year 2 after a complete rebuild.

It wasn't meant to be.

In a 14-point loss to the Oregon Ducks in the 1st round of the Big Dance, the Gamecocks struggled early on offense and struggled in the 2nd half on defense. Former Gamecock Jermaine Couisnard went off, setting a new career-high and an Oregon NCAA Tournament all-time record with 40 points. Big man N'Faly Dante was dominant inside, as well, and Carolina just couldn't do enough to win.

It was a disappointing finish to what was an amazing season. As has been repeated hundreds of times during the course of the season, South Carolina basketball was picked to finish 14th out of 14 teams in the SEC. Instead, they finished tied for 2nd and still had a chance to win the league in the final week of the regular season.

The turnaround in Columbia was remarkable as USC traded one inauspicious record last season (tied for most losses in a season in program history) for a much better one this year (tied for most wins in a season in program history). The final record of 26-8 would have been downright unthinkable this offseason, and South Carolina basketball fans should appreciate what they witnessed during the 2023-2024 campaign.

Typically after a game, we give a "3 thumbs up, 3 thumbs down" list to assess the team's performance. This will look different today. Instead, "3 thumbs up for the season" will be the direction of this article.