South Carolina basketball receives top-25 ranking by national outlet...sort of

After the big Kentucky win earlier in the week, the South Carolina basketball team made their way into CBS Sports' Top-25 And 1 poll.
South Carolina basketball guards Jacobi Wright and Meechie Johnson
South Carolina basketball guards Jacobi Wright and Meechie Johnson / Jeff Blake-USA TODAY Sports

The 16-3 (4-2) South Carolina basketball team is the best team in Columbia since the 2016-2017 Final Four squad, and there is real optimism around the country that the Gamecocks can find their way into the Big Dance once again this season.

The latest surge from USC has been back-to-back blowout wins over Arkansas on the road and Kentucky at Colonial Life Arena.

There has been lots of discussion about whether or not fans would see the name "South Carolina Gamecocks" present when the next batch of top-25 rankings came out, and even Carolina head coach Lamont Paris has spoken in favor of his team, telling SECNetwork's Alyssa Lang that it would be "a real problem" if his team didn't crack the top-25 this week.

On Thursday, CBS Sports released their rankings, and South Carolina basketball found their way into the outlet's top-25 poll...sort of.

In their weekly Top-25 And 1 poll, the Gamecocks slotted in at the "And 1" spot, meaning that CBS Sports ranked USC as the 26th-best team in college basketball.

The Gamecocks are hoping that next week's AP poll will include the SEC's 4th-place team. South Carolina basketball has not been ranked at all since February 2017. They were even left out of the end-of-season poll following the team's appearance in the Final Four later that year.

First, though, Lamont Paris' squad has to take care of business against the Missouri Tigers on Saturday. At 1:00 at home inside of Colonial Life Arena, the Gamecocks will take on Mizzou on the SECNetwork, and with a win, USC will have their best chance at being ranked in a while.

Carolina fans have reason to be excited about their favorite team's postseason future as most national outlets have had the Gamecocks in the field of 68 in their NCAA Tournament projections this season, and the wins over Arkansas and Kentucky can only help solidify their spot in the Madness that is March.

There is still a long way to go before the regular season ends, but things sure are going well in Columbia, South Carolina right now.

Stock Up: South Carolina Basketball. dark. Next. Stock Up: South Carolina Basketball