I was walking off the floor, and a guy in the stands was shaking his head. He looked to the ceiling, perhaps at that 1971 Sweet 16 banner, and said, “Can’t believe we fell for it again.”
I understand, although there are 17 games left to play.
South Carolina should have won this game. But Billy Donovan is one of the greatest X’s and O’s coaches around, and his plan to press right away and take away Duane Notice worked. With Sindarius Thornwell in foul trouble, USC’s offense had no rhythm and petered out in the second half.
USC, for the first time in eight games, had its game thrown back at it and didn’t handle it nearly as well as it’s going to have to to survive in this league.
It doesn’t look rosy, going to play Saturday against an Ole Miss team that nearly knocked off Kentucky at Rupp. If the Gamecocks were caught leaving Michael Frazier open too many times, how will they handle Stefan Moody?
But, that’s what USC is going to have to deal with. The Gamecocks did many good things on Wednesday and one loss doesn’t sink the season.
They know, though, that rotten starts in the SEC often leave no time to catch up, and the league’s reputation won’t do middle-of-the-pack finishers any favors for the postseason.