Contrary to popular belief in Columbia, it was NOT great to be a Gamecock this weekend.
With basketball playing two seemingly easy games and baseball opening their season with the traditional mid-major — this weekend was set up to be one where Gamecock fans and alumni could go back to their water coolers today and argue over which team had the better win this weekend.
However, now they’re arguing about which team had the worst loss.
The men’s basketball team went on the road to face Vanderbilt, a team that’s floated around .500 all season under a first year head coach in Bryce Drew. What should have been a slump buster for South Carolina turned into foul-ridden loss, giving the Gamecocks L’s in three of their last four games.
Then came baseball, who after beating UNC-Greensboro 7-1 and 5-1 on Friday and Saturday were shutout by a pitcher who was coming off a season where he held a 4.98 ERA in 68 innings. South Carolina’s had some good teams who’ve absorbed early losses before, but it didn’t make Sunday’s feel any better.
Then to cap things off the women’s basketball team — perhaps the surest thing going in Gamecock athletics right now — dropped a heart breaker to Missouri and put them behind Mississippi State in the SEC standings.
Like I said, it was not a great couple of days to be a Gamecock fan.
As much as I love my Alma Mater and it’s fan base, the South Carolina faithful as a whole have a tendency to overreact to things like this. And with overreactions come some pretty bad hot takes on Twitter by frustrated supporters. For example:
This tweet is in reference to the women’s basketball team losing on Sunday, and bad grammar aside this is just an absurd statement. Ole’ Nancy might be the only person on earth who’s accused Dawn Staley of being a bad coach.
Of the six women’s basketball coaches South Carolina have had Staley holds the highest winning percentage with the third most wins total. She’s resurrected the program from SEC obscurity to a team that gets to play UConn in prime time on ESPN2.
Yet as fans we love to live in the moment, such as our friend Lisa here:
As to what she’s exactly implying here in unclear, but it can certainly be construed into it’s time for Staley to go. Let’s be clear, if South Carolina fired Staley who would you expect them to replace her with? There are maybe five good answers: Geno Auriemma, Kim Mulkey, Muffet McGraw, Brenda Frese and maybe Vic Schaefer.
The likely hood of any of those coaches leaving their respective institutions is zero to none. Gamecock women’s basketball is in great hands, even if the Missouri loss was bad. It’s not as if South Carolina can’t make a run in the SEC tournament and still grab a No. 1 seed, so let’s calm down on Dawn Staley please?
Oh Jesus. Let’s move on.
Men’s Basketball bad takes
Taking a step back to Saturday we can look at what a select few people think about Frank Martin, who very similarly to Staley has pulled the men’s program from being insignificant at to now a top-25 team. However this isn’t good enough for some folks, like Mike here:
Keep hearing excuses of tired USC Gamecock team for another late season collapse.Just the usual Frank Martin's team choking late in theyear— Mike Hill (@Mike_Hill10) February 19, 2017
The “usual” Frank Martin team? Listening to this guy talk you’d think South Carolina had this uber-rich history of college basketball success and Martin was tarnishing the great name of Gamecock basketball with these unacceptable late season collapses.
Let me tell you something Mike. When I was a student at SC I had the privilege of getting to work with ESPN Campus Connection for the South Carolina-Florida game, back when the Gators were ranked No. 1.
As cool as it was to walk around on the floor while the game was going on, it wasn’t so cool watching South Carolina get their heads caved in by almost 30 points. Even prior to that South Carolina has been to the NCAA Tournament four times in the last 40 years. There hasn’t been tradition at South Carolina since the late 70’s under Frank McGuire.
@FrankMartin_SC my guys in Afghanistan lost morale and i rallied from the front where are you. You lost it. Go to Mizzou.— Mike Bostic (@MikeBostic3) February 19, 2017
I mean seriously, where is this entitlement coming from? South Carolina gets ranked and all of a sudden the fans demand excellence or nothing else? Can we not appreciate just two years ago this team was barely .500?
I get tasting success is great, and getting your first taste makes you hungry for more — but let’s not act spoiled Gamecock faithful. We’ve been good at basketball for less than two years now.
The Vanderbilt loss sucked, and it feels a lot like when the team collapsed down the stretch last season. But what standards are we comparing the team to? SC hasn’t been to the big dance since 2004, let’s just try to appreciate the fact the Gamecocks are the closest they’ve been in 13 years.
@TheBigSpur247 Frank Martin just don't know how to close it out and you surely don't know how to coach the big games.— Wayne H Jeffcoat (@WayneHerbert13) February 19, 2017
Baseball bad takes
And finally we come to baseball, the pride and joy of Gamecock athletics. “We’re a baseball school” fans will exclaim when football or basketball let us down. Even members of college football media will acknowledge South Carolina is a baseball school, so when the baseball team lets the fans down the fans rain down their volcanic takes.
Same offense weve seen from a Chad Holbrook team since Ray gave him the keys. Unproductive. And I'm sure he'll block me. Hi Chad— Wesley Nobles (@WesleyNobles) February 19, 2017
Give people a couple of national championships and if you don’t win the chip every year they’ll hate you for it. First of all Wesley, you didn’t @ Chad so I don’t think he’ll see the tweet. Secondly, let’s stop comparing Chad Holbrook to Ray Tanner.
Holbrook will never be Tanner, because there aren’t a lot of coaches in the history of college baseball who are Tanner. It’s never easy following up the legend, but South Carolina fans have never let Holbrook off the hook for not being Tanner.
@cholbrook2 can you please recruit some guys that can hit?!?— Lazy Brick (@LzyBrickBrewery) February 19, 2017
I’ll even admit the 1-0 loss to UNC-Greensboro was a little embarrassing. The No. 4 team in the country should probably be able to generate at least one run against an above average mid-major, however we’re three games into a potential 65 game season. Drawing conclusions now would statistically be just plain silly.
Granted, all of these tweets aren’t a great representative sample of the South Carolina fan base as a whole. Every school has their lunatic fringe, and a weekend like the one South Carolina just suffered will bring out the crazies in droves.
This is a reminder to keep perspective — understand where these programs are and where they came from. Stuff like this happens, and it’s not the end of the world. Keep your heads up Gamecock faithful, there are better times ahead.