Sharing a podium Sunday at Colonial Life Arena, close friends Frank Martin and Buzz Williams confirmed they’d never have their South Carolina and Virginia Tech programs go against each other in the regular season.
Two days later, the Gamecocks announced future meetings with a different ACC school.
USC will begin a home-and-home series with Virginia on Dec. 19, 2018, in Columbia. The Gamecocks will then play in Charlottesville on Dec. 18, 2019.
The two programs have faced each other 39 times – a nod to when South Carolina was part of the ACC – but next year’s matchup will be their first since the 2002 NIT. Carolina leads the all-time series, 22-17.
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The universities are roughly 360 miles apart.
The Cavaliers, under ninth-year coach Tony Bennett, have made four straight NCAA Tournaments, advancing to the Elite Eight in 2016. They were picked sixth in the preseason ACC poll. They start the 2017-18 season out of the AP Top 25 for the first time in 64 weeks.
Virginia, as is the case most seasons under the defensive-minded Bennett, finished 2016-17 No. 2 in Ken Pomeroy’s defensive efficiency ratings. South Carolina, Final Four participants, was No. 3.
UVa represents the first ACC foe not named Clemson on USC’s regular season schedule since the Gamecocks beat Syracuse last November in Brooklyn.
South Carolina begins the 2017-18 season Friday at Wofford. Tip time is 7 p.m., and the matchup will be available on WatchESPN.