I remember a game three years ago that was similar, yet different. Similar in the situation, different in what the future holds.
Nov. 16, 2010, at Michigan State. Second game of the season. A young USC team lost to the Spartans, 82-73, raising expectations for the Gamecocks. Those expectations increased when USC began 3-1 in the SEC, only to plummet to a 14-16 overall record.
As I sat courtside at the Ferrell Center, watching Sindarius Thornwell and Michael Carrera desperately try to sink the game-tying bucket, and then the agony of seeing a foul on Carrera (correctly) ruled after the final horn, that Michigan State game came to mind. They were right there, on the cusp of pulling off a signature win.
It didn’t happen, then or now.
But the feeling that it will happen soon is much stronger now.
The Gamecocks have talent that they didn’t on that team three years ago. This talent will continue to develop, although keeping this up-tempo high energy throughout the season will be tricky.
It’s there. There won’t be the regression of those previous teams. The wins might not come in bunches, but there will be a few this year that remove the sting of Tuesday.
Maybe even the next one, a road game against a team that USC is better than, and in a rivalry setting.