clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

South Carolina Gamecocks Men's Basketball: Cocks Picked 12th at SEC Media Day

New, 10 comments

Hoops is just around the corner. Is Frank Martin's squad ready to step up in the SEC?

USC men's basketball coach Frank Martin
USC men's basketball coach Frank Martin
Jeremy Brevard-USA TODAY Sports

Someone will have to explain why the SEC, in its infinite wisdom, chose to hold its Men's Basketball media day in Charlotte, North Carolina - a state that is outside the conference's geographic footprint.

Are we so lacking in convention space inside the eleven states that comprise SEC country that we need to give our business to the Queen City?  Really?  Or maybe that we are so beholden to the Four Letter Network that the league has to grace an ESPN facility?

Well - at least it was a short drive for Coach Frank Martin, So. G Sindarius Thornwell and Sr. G. Tyrone Johnson, who made the trek up I-77 to Charlotte's Ballantyne Hotel and the ESPN/SEC Network Studios and got a chance to throw rub elbows with regional and national media types.

Maybe they should have thrown a few elbows, after all, as the Gamecocks were picked 12th of 14.  Here was the media's projected order of finish (with votes/points):

1. Kentucky, 280 points

2. Florida, 258 points

3. Arkansas, 226

4. LSU, 223

5. Georgia, 204

6. Mississippi, 168

7. Missouri, 123

8. Auburn, 113

9. Texas A&M, 111

10. Alabama, 109

11. Vanderbilt, 89

12. South Carolina, 86

13. Tennessee, 75

14. Mississippi State, 35

The Kentucky Wildcats were the media darlings.  Entering his sixth season in Lexington, with one championship ('12), one NCAA runner-up finish ('14), and another Final Four appearance ('11), John Calipari's 'Cats are so deep that he has said it is like coaching two teams.  Not only did  the'Cats sweep the first place balloting for the first time since '95-'96, but Aaron Harrison - who had such a spectacular Tourney run last season - was named pre-season Player of the Year (and don't forget he has a twin!). Big Blue is the pre-season favorite for the 10th time since the '88'-'89 season.

No one is the media is expecting this to be a big year for improvement for the Cocks. But for his part, Coach Martin is very excited about incoming freshman guards Marcus Stroman and TeMarcus Blanton; he also says he is pleased with the overall leadership he is seeing in his backcourt.

Can we expect signs of life at the Colonial Life Arena?  After missing so wildly in my football projections, I'm reluctant to be optimistic about USC men's hoops until I see the product on the hardwood.

But beyond UK, UF and Arkansas, I think there is a chance we can claw our way into the SEC upper division if we play hard, defend homecourt, and stay healthy.  Some good news on the recruiting front would also go a long way to create some excitement for Garnet and Black roundball - a la Tevin Mack, P.J. Dozier and Rozelle Nix.

Keep your fingers crossed.

GO COCKS!