The South Carolina Gamecocks head to Nashville, TN this week with a chance - albeit, a very slim chance - to play their way into their first NCAA Tournament since 2004. If they plan to do it, they'll have to get by without two players.
Shamiek Sheppard and Demetrius Henry have been suspended for the last few games of the regular season, and Frank Martin announced today that those suspensions will continue through the SEC Tournament. Neither Henry nor Sheppard will travel to Nashville with the Gamecocks, which means they won't take part in the tournament, which begins for Carolina on Wednesday evening against Missouri.
Their absences means that Carolina heads to Nashville with just nine available scholarship players, one of whom - Reggie Theus, Jr. - has seen very limited minutes this year. That leaves just eight contributors, along with Brian Steele, to try to get through a gauntlet of five games in five days.
Obviously, all this announcement does is make an already unlikely event all the more unlikely. Still, for those hoping to see the Gamecocks make a run in Nashville, those long odds just got a bit longer.