The South Carolina Gamecocks started off last season strong. Winning 10 of their non-conference games, Frank Martin’s team needed only an average SEC season from his new team to go to the NIT and get into the talk for a 2013 NCAA Tournament berth.
Unfortunately, the Gamecocks’ non-conference schedule was far too easy. South Carolina only won four of their SEC games and were knocked out of the SEC tournament early by the injury-laden Mississippi State Bulldogs.
This year, Martin’s Gamecocks will be one of the youngest teams in the SEC. Incoming freshman Sindarius Thornwell is one of the best incoming freshmen in the SEC and should put up huge points for a team that will struggle to find a player to focus their offense around. Sophomore Michael Carrera is the returning leading rebounder for the team and if he can learn to pass back outside to the Gamecocks’ talented shooters more often, he will be essential to the success of this team.
South Carolina should be led by senior Gamecocks’ football and basketball player Bruce Ellington, as well as returning lead scorer Brenton Williams. Both are experienced SEC players that will be able to give the younger members of South Carolina some confidence.
The Gamecocks shouldn’t expect to go to the 2014 NCAA Tournament, but they are a much better team than anyone will give them credit for. Expect them to win a lot of their weaker non-conference games and have a late-season statement win over a 2014 NCAA Tournament-bound SEC team that helps them slide into the 2014 NIT Tournament.