South Carolina’s 2017-18 schedule had a big piece added to it on Thursday.
The Gamecocks are one of eight teams in the Tire Pros Puerto Rico Tipoff in San Juan next season. USC joins Iowa State, Tulsa, UTEP, Boise State, Florida State, Western Michigan and Illinois State for three games on Nov. 16, 17 and 19 next year.
Coach Frank Martin likes to play in November exempt tournaments and has taken his team to four warm-weather spots over the past four years. The Gamecocks are participating in the Brooklyn Hoops Holiday Invitational this year, but three of the four games are at Colonial Life Arena with the fourth against Syracuse in Brooklyn on Nov. 26.
The Tipoff next year will give USC another “beach” tournament. Martin has previously taken his teams to Mexico, Hawaii, Charleston and the Virgin Islands.
Other known games for next season are the rivalry game at Clemson and a game at Michigan, in return for the Wolverines visiting Columbia this year. It’s thought that a home-and-home with UMass, which was part of the Minutemen’s football team playing in Columbia this year, will also begin.
The Gamecocks’ two-year exemption from the Big 12/SEC Challenge will be up after this year and they’ll be eligible to compete in the next two, and if permanent opponents don’t switch, USC will play SEC home-and-homes with Georgia, Tennessee and Mississippi State. Next year’s SEC tournament will take a one-year break from Nashville and be played in St. Louis.
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