A year after a magical run to the Final Four, the South Carolina Gamecocks will not participate in postseason basketball, as they failed to make the cut for the 32-team NIT field.
Finishing just a shade above .500 at 17-16 and 7-11 in conference, South Carolina likely needed two wins in the SEC Tournament to bolster its case for the NIT. Even so, the Gamecocks were no doubt affected by the amount of regular-season champions that lost in their conference tournaments — those teams receive automatic bids to the NIT — as well as a few high-profile NCAA Tournament snubs (St. Mary’s, Notre Dame, Middle Tennessee, and Southern Cal among them).
It’s a sour end to the season for South Carolina, which had been left with a lot of questions after the departure of stars like Sindarius Thornwell and PJ Dozier and never really managed to answer them. Throw in Rah Felder’s unavailability, some injury issues, and the need to give new/young players substantial minutes and it’s not shocking the Gamecocks couldn’t come close to last season’s success. With the SEC sending a record-tying eight teams to the NCAA Tournament this year, South Carolina is an increasingly deep and cutthroat league. The Gamecocks should hopefully be an improved squad in 2018-19, but they’ve got some work to do.