Examining South Carolina Gamecocks Basketball

Mar 8, 2020; Greenville, SC, USA; The South Carolina Gamecocks bench celebrates during the fourth quarter against the Mississippi State Bulldogs during the SEC Conference Championship at Bon Secours Wellness Arena. Mandatory Credit: Jeremy Brevard-USA TODAY Sports

As the NCAA basketball season comes to a close and the “madness” nears, we take a look at both the men’s and women’s programs at South Carolina and what the postseason could potentially look like for the duo of squads.

The Women’s Program

The Lady Gamecocks, the women’s team, closed out their regular season last Sunday afternoon during Senior Day at the Colonial Life Arena in Columbia, S.C., against the Texas A&M Aggies. South Carolina cemented a perfect conference record with the 60-52 victory over the Aggies and closed out their season with an impressive 29-1 record.

The Gamecocks only lost to Indiana in late November and they had an astounding victory against the University of Connecticut Huskies for the first time in history on Feb. 10.

South Carolina has been ranked No. 1 in the nation in both the AP and coaches poll the last four weeks, have been ranked all season, and had a three-game lead over Mississippi in the SEC. They entered the SEC Conference Tournament as the top seed in Greenville and were favored to win the tournament for the fifth time in seven years.

On Sunday afternoon, the Lady Gamecocks did just that when they secured their fifth SEC tournament title with a 76-62 victory over Mississippi State and took both the regular season SEC championship title and the conference tournament championship. This South Carolina team is projected to get the top seed in the NCAA Championship Tournament but the official decision will be made on Selection Monday (Mar. 16), which is also when their matchup and game details will be released.

Senior guard Tyasha Harris posted 350 points for the 2019-2020 season and 1,295 total points in her four-year career at South Carolina while her teammate and fellow senior Mikiah Herbert Harrigan made notable contributions of her own. Herbert Harrigan recorded 376 points in her senior year and a total of 1,127 in her four years as a Lady Gamecock. Junior guard LeLa Grissett recorded 20 blocks, 23 steals, and 183 points this season while freshman sensation Aliyah Boston posted an impressive 74 blocks, 38 steals, and 373 points in her first year with South Carolina.

The South Carolina women’s basketball program is a perfect combination of talented young ladies who give their all to the game and the phenomenal leadership under head coach Dawn Staley. As a result of her hard work and dedication to her women’s team, Staley was honored as the SEC Coach of the Year on March 3 and is one of the finalists for the Naismith Coach of the Year award.

The Men’s Program

The South Carolina men’s basketball team, under the leadership of head coach Frank Martin, finished out their regular season 18-13 overall and 10-8 in the SEC conference. Although the Gamecocks have posted a solid winning season, they didn’t secure the final two victories necessary to stay “on the bubble” for tournament contention. The Gamecocks handled Mississippi State in their season finale at home on Senior Night at the Colonial Life Arena, but they faltered in the final game of the season against Vanderbilt on the road, 83-74. 

The Gamecocks started the season with four of seven wins in November, four of six in December, including the defeat of the Virginia Cavaliers, and secured wins against Kentucky, Texas A&M, Vanderbilt, and Arkansas in January. South Carolina swept the Georgia Bulldogs in a series that included a 94-90 victory in overtime, beat the Aggies for the second time this season with a 20-point victory, and beat the Mississippi State Bulldogs one of two times in the last six weeks of the season. 

South Carolina finished the season sixth in the SEC conference behind Florida and ahead of Texas A&M. They will play in the first round of the SEC tournament on Thursday, March 12, and essentially need to come away from the tournament victorious in the second round against Arkansas or Vanderbilt, and then survive the quarterfinals, semifinals, and the championship game to gain a berth in the “big dance.” As of season’s end, it appears the Gamecocks will earn a seed in the National Invitational Tournament, instead.

Advertisements

Leave a Reply