It has been a year to remember for South Carolina’s Men’s Basketball. They had their best start to a season since the 1933-1934 season. Frank Martin is completing what he came to do, turn the program around. But, is what they done so far good enough to make the NCAA Tournament?
The Gamecocks have the best overall record in the SEC entering the last week of regular season play. They are sitting at 23-6. The are tied for second in the SEC trailing Texas A&M (22-7, 11-5) and Kentucky (21-8, 11-5) who are tied for first place. Vanderbilt (18-11, 10-6) and LSU (17-12, 10-6) are also in second place. They would own the tie-breaker if they are still tied going into the SEC tournament.
Even though they are near the top of the SEC, the SEC has been the problem for Frank Martin’s team. All of their 6 losses have come in conference play and all but one was away games. It seems like SC has to overcome some road woes to make it higher in the SEC. Their one home loss was to Kentucky.
So, how are they still third in the SEC with so many road losses? Well, they have big road wins over Texas A&M and Ole Miss (OT). They have had more home games than away. LSU, Florida, and Tennessee have all came into Colonial Life Arena and lost in conference play. In total, they are 15-1 at home this season.
So, that was conference play, what about non-conference play? Well, that is simple, the Gamecocks are undefeated in non-conference games. Why does that need to be pointed out? Because, after the SEC tournament, if they make it further, they will be more likely playing teams outside the SEC. These games will also be on a neutral location, which they are perfect on this season. On neutral locations they have won the Paradise Jam Tournament and beat St. Johns in the Basketball Hall of Fame Shootout. Playing out of the SEC on neutral locations seem to be their best places to play.
With two games left until the SEC tournament begins, they can revenge a lost to Georgia by beating them at home (on senior night) on Thursday. And on Saturday, in Little Rock, Arkansas, they can even their road record at 5-5 or fall 2 games under .500.
With South Carolina being the second to last undefeated team in Division 1 basketball, not making the tournament would seem a little unsatisfying. But, their resume speaks for itself, they are one of the better teams in the SEC this year. Unranked or not, it may take these next two games to secure their spot.