USC Men's Basketball

Does losing to a Division II team foreshadow a rough season? Some history suggests no

Frank Martin: If fans are worried, they need to understand basketball

South Carolina basketball loss to Augusta University 77-72 in an exhibition game at Colonial Life Arena Friday Oct. 26, 2018, in Colonial Life Arena.
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South Carolina basketball loss to Augusta University 77-72 in an exhibition game at Colonial Life Arena Friday Oct. 26, 2018, in Colonial Life Arena.

When it happened to Miami in 2013, the Hurricanes went on to become ACC champions. When it happened to Syracuse in 2009, the Orange went on to become Big East champions. When it happened to Ohio State in 2007, the Buckeyes went on to become NIT champions.

History proves a season doesn’t end when a Division I basketball team loses an exhibition game to a Division II program.

Augusta University, of the Peach Belt Conference, beat South Carolina, 77-72, last Friday at Colonial Life Arena. As USC coach Frank Martin noted afterward, the Gamecocks had their All-SEC forward, Chris Silva, on the bench for the game’s final 10 minutes. They took a cautious route with starting point guard Tre Campbell after he tweaked his ankle early in the second half. (Campell, who scored 13 points, didn’t play the final 17:41.) And, well, Martin never took a timeout and rarely busted out a dry erase board for play design.

“I’m kind of happy that I kind of let it happen, for lack of better words,” Martin said. “Because we weren’t very good at practice this week. And we got so many new guys on the team, I’m still trying to figure some stuff out. So I just kind of let this happen. ... This was real good for us.”

South Carolina basketball loss to Augusta University 77-72 in an exhibition game at Colonial Life Arena Friday Oct. 26, 2018, in Colonial Life Arena.

Asked later for a response to USC supporters who might have taken the result differently, Martin said, “If any Gamecock fan is going to sit there and worry about what happened, they need to understand basketball then.”

Does losing to a Division II team in the preseason foreshadow a poor regular season? Here are some examples to suggest no:

Nov. 3, 2007: No. 8 Michigan State loses to Grand Valley State, 85-82, in double overtime.

How’d the Spartans fare? 27-9 overall, 12-6 Big Ten, NCAA Tournament second round

Nov. 6, 2007: Ohio State loses to Findlay, 70-68.

How’d the Buckeyes fare? 24-13, 10-8 Big Ten, NIT champions

Nov. 4, 2009: No. 25 Syracuse loses to LeMoyne, 82-79.

How’d the Orange fare? 30-5, 15-3 Big East, Big East champions, NCAA Tournament Sweet 16

Nov. 8, 2010: Tennessee loses to Indianapolis, 79-64.

How’d the Volunteers fare? 19-15, 8-8 SEC, NCAA Tournament first round

Nov. 6, 2010: Xavier loses to Bellarmine, 63-61.

How’d the Musketeers fare? 24-8, 15-1 Atlantic 10, Atlantic 10 champions, NCAA Tournament first round

Nov. 3, 2012: Miami loses to Saint Leo, 69-67.

How’d the Hurricanes fare? 29-7, 15-3 ACC, ACC champions, NCAA Tournament Sweet 16

Nov. 6, 2015: Iowa loses to Augustana, 76-74.

How’d the Hawkeyes fare? 22-12, 12-6 Big Ten, NCAA Tournament second round

Nov. 4, 2016: VCU loses to Queens, 75-73.

How’d the Rams fare? 25-11, 14-4 Atlantic 10, NCAA Tournament second round

Nov. 2, 2017: Auburn loses to Barry, 100-95, in overtime

How’d the Tigers fare? 26-8, 13-5 SEC, SEC co-champions, NCAA Tournament second round

USC, picked to finish 11th in the SEC, followed its Augusta loss by traveling to Virginia Tech on Saturday and taking on the Hokies in a “closed scrimmage.” Martin delivered a recap of the matchup on his Twitter account.

Carolina’s regular season begins Nov. 6 when it hosts USC Upstate.

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