David Cloninger

Basketball schedules inching toward finalization

Dawn Staley is lining up another aggressive non-conference schedule for South Carolina in 2015-16.
Dawn Staley is lining up another aggressive non-conference schedule for South Carolina in 2015-16. tglantz@thestate.com

Call around to the basketball offices these days and I get a lot of "still waiting on the contract to be signed." That’s when games are on the schedule, nearly ready to be announced, but South Carolina (or some of the potential opponents) won’t release them until each side has a signed and delivered contract. That leads to the other standard answer to "When’s the schedule coming out?"

"We’re close."

It hasn’t been easy for the Gamecock men to set their schedule, as several would-be deals fell through and USC had to add another game after being promised a matchup in the Big 12/SEC Challenge, then being snubbed (that tale will be told once the schedule is out). The non-conference schedule was released around this time last year, but according to a USC spokeswoman on Monday, this year’s isn’t imminent or distant – it’s unknown. Could be tomorrow, could be in a month.

The women’s known schedule already features several big opponents, and the rest of it is like the men – soon, later, who knows?

For the record, the latest I ever found out a full schedule was in 2010, when I arrived to SEC (basketball) Media Days in mid-October and read USC’s women’s slate off the back of the media guide. Neither schedule this year should take that long.

The known games:

MEN

Clemson (at Greenville’s Bon Secours Wellness Arena, since Littlejohn Coliseum is being renovated)

Paradise Jam, Nov. 20-23 (at Virgin Islands. USC will play DePaul at 10 p.m. on Nov. 20 and then have two other games against Florida State, Indiana State, Hofstra, Ohio, Tulsa or Norfolk State)

St. John’s, Dec. 22 (at Mohegan Sun Casino, Uncasville, Conn.)

Memphis, Jan. 2 (Columbia)

There have at least been discussions with three other non-Power 5 conference teams for games in Columbia but – sing along – "still waiting on the contract to be signed." USC still has to get three or four more non-conference games finalized to fill the schedule.

The SEC schedule is likewise unreleased but USC’s permanent home-and-home opponents are Georgia, Tennessee and Mississippi State.

WOMEN

Clemson (at Clemson, but this may change to Greenville. The Tiger women are going to play their home games in Jervey Gymnasium, the school’s volleyball arena, which seats 2,000. If the Tigers are wise and want to cash in on a lot of USC fans who will make that trip, they’ll try to get it in Greenville).

Connecticut (Columbia)

Ohio State, Nov. 13 (Columbia)

UCLA, Nov. 22 (at Los Angeles, as a stopover before the next)

Arizona State, Nov. 27 (at Hawaii, in the University of Hawaii’s Thanksgiving tournament. The Rainbow Wahine haven’t released the full schedule yet, but Arizona State confirmed the USC game. USC will play another game in the tournament.)

Duke, Dec. 6 (Columbia)

The SEC schedule is likewise unreleased but USC’s permanent home-and-home opponent is Kentucky. Dawn Staley said a month ago that Ole Miss and Texas A&M are USC’s other two home-and-homes this year.

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