Maybe a change in venue next season to St. Louis will do the USC basketball team some good in the SEC Tournament. They’ve worn out their welcome in Nashville. For the second straight March, the Gamecocks were given their marching orders home by a lower seed team. Last year it was Georgia. Friday it was Alabama that pinned a 64-53 loss on Frank Martin’s team.
Last year Martin felt his team was in the NCAA Tournament despite the quick ouster. The selection committee thought otherwise. This weekend there appears to be little doubt the Gamecocks will hear their name called out on Selection Sunday, or will they?
The Gamecocks were beaten in a manner Martin can’t stomach, flat-out out hustled and out muscled. Alabama grabbed 15 more rebounds, including 12 on the offensive glass that were converted to 16 second chance points. The Crimson Tide scored 28 points in the paint. And their penetration let to kickouts to Riley Norris who hit two big second half three pointers.
Offensively, USC hardly got into a rhythm shooting 36.7% for the game and missing 10 free throws. The Gamecocks never could get their hands around the game, their largest lead only being one point.
The expectation is strong that despite the stinging defeat the Gamecocks will play next week in the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 2004. ESPN expert Joe Lunardi has them as a seven seed playing Seton Hall in Indianapolis in the first round.
Frank Martin postgame press conference
Sindarius Thornwell and PJ Dozier take questions from the media