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Gamecock women picked as SEC champs, men slotted to finish 10th

Two opposite ends of the spectrum here.

Shanna Lockwood-USA TODAY Sports

Football season is well underway, but the action on the hardwood is starting to crank up with the SEC’s basketball media days happening this week.

The South Carolina women were chosen to finish as conference champions in the annual preseason media poll, coming off a 2018-19 campaign that culminated with a 23-10 (13-3) record and Sweet 16 appearance. The Gamecocks fell in a shocker to Arkansas during the SEC Tournament, halting what could have been a path to a record fifth-straight conference crown.

South Carolina returns two starters in senior guard Tyasha Harris and senior forward Mikiah Herbert Harrigan, while adding the nation’s No. 1 recruiting class to the fold. Harris earned first-team All-SEC preseason honors, while Herbert Harrigan landed on the second team. After a rebuilding year, it’s clear the Gamecocks are expected to contend again.

As for the men? Not so much. South Carolina was picked to finish 10th, surprising some, as the Gamecocks have been viewed as a possible NCAA Tournament team. Of course, USC has a knack for defying preseason expectations — the 2018-19 squad, with its 16-16 (11-7) record, finished fourth in the SEC after being slated for 11th.

Perhaps most surprising, though, was the lack of any preseason All-SEC nods for A.J. Lawson, who is a projected first-round NBA Draft pick. While this speaks to the overall increasing quality of SEC men’s basketball, it’s still going to be difficult for the Gamecocks to command respect until they can string some winning seasons together. Hopefully, after an offseason that didn’t see any transfers or defections for once, South Carolina is set up to succeed.

If nothing else, check out these incredible throwbacks the Gamecocks will have at their disposal this season:

No offense to the current uniforms, but it’s my hope that these go the way of the football throwbacks and become permanent.