The USC basketball team’s road and ACC woes continued Wednesday night with a 85-76 loss at Boston College. The Gamecocks are now 0-3 on the road and 0-3 against ACC opponents. Coach Darrin Horn added this games to help bolster his RPI and improve his team’s resume for an NCAA tournament bid in March.
Carolina didn’t look like much of a tournament team in the first half. B.C. jumped out to an early lead and went into the locker room at halftime up by 21 points. But the Gamecocks came out strong in the second half and quickly got back in the game. It was a two possession game with about 12 minutes to go and the Gamecocks put themselves in position to tie or take the lead a few times in the second half. But the Eagles always had an answer and ended up handed the Gamecocks their fourth loss of the season.
USC (8-4) returns home Saturday to face Baylor. Last year the Gamecocks hit a last second shot to beat the Bears in Waco. Last night Baylor won at Arkansas 70-47. They are 10-1 this season. Saturday’s game tips off at Noon at the Colonial Life Arena.
Saturday marks a crucial stretch for USC that very well may determine if this is a team that can compete for the NCAA tournament or will be back in the NIT. Or worse. The Gamecocks face Baylor on the 2nd, Longwood on the 5th, play at Auburn on the 9th and then return home to play LSU on the 13th and Vanderbilt on the 16th. So by the middle of January we should have a decent indication how this team is going to be.
The Gamecocks should get junior forward Mike Holmes back sometime during that stretch as well. Holmes as been out for the past five games after he had surgery on the eye socket he injured “horsing around” during a break over Thanksgiving weekend. He has not been on the bench or spoken to the media since the incident. He has reportedly been spotted at some women’s games as a spectator.
Unless this team makes huge strides it is hard to think they will be able to compete with the top tier teams in the SEC and it is hard to see them landing in the Dance.