Should fans complain about a two-point win, or should they just enjoy the wins?

         As a fan of a college basketball team that has not won much in the past, and who recently only seven years ago was the worst team in the SEC and one of the worst in the nation. The men’s basketball team for the University of South Carolina is not a powerhouse like Kentucky or Duke. The Gamecocks have not been successful as a program for the last few decades. Since the beginning of the century, the program thornwell,notice,dozierhas made it to the big dance twice, including last year when Coach Martin guided the program to its first-ever Final Four appearance. With the Final Four run, many fans have high expectations for a team that lost almost 75% of the scoring from a year ago, with PJ Dozier, Sindarius Thornwell, and Duane Notice all either graduating or going pro.

I frank martinwill admit that I did have super high expectations for this team going into the season, but then I remembered that Coach Martin is basically starting over with the team with 8 new players coming in. People honestly need to realize that this team will not be perfect, they may struggle at times like they did when they only beat Coastal Carolina by 2. Today, I read a tweet from a supposed Gamecock fan, who was complaining about why should she waste her money to go watch them barely beat a team like Coastal when she could watch it straight from home. Even though she does have a right to speak her mind, she doesn’t seem to understand that this team is not perfect, this team is not like Kentucky or Duke, who you can almost guarantee to go beat a lower D1 school by almost double digits.

         Everyone needs to be patient with the team. What’s impressive is that Coach Martin has led this team to an 8-2 record with 8 new players. Few coaches can succeed with that many new players outside of Coach Cal, Coach K, and some of the other big program leading coaches. The only person that can truly say anything is Coach Martin himself when he called out the fans for not packing Colonial Life.gamecocks Outside of Coach Martin and anyone who is in the program, no one can say anything about this team. As fans, we need to just support the team through the good and the bad, and just because they did get to the Final Four a year ago, it does not guarantee a return trip back, it doesn’t guarantee another trip back to the tournament in general.

         As fans, we need to enjoy the good times while they are here because we do not know if the team will fall back to its old self of being bad or mediocre at best. Look at how the football program went. They had three straight years of 11 wins and were one of the best teams in the nations and then the bottom fell out and they started to decline. Yes, the basketball is having the best run in the history of the program, but we must remember that nothing lasts forever and at some point, the team will decline.

         In my opinion, if you do not like how the team is performing, then change teams, be a bandwagon fan for a powerhouse team. No team needs a fan that would rather watch their team from afar than go support their team in person. As a fan, yes you go for the game and hope your team wins, but many fans also go for the experience of being at the game and enjoy being there with friends or family. whichever team wins, their fans shouldn’t leave the game mad that they won only by single digits to a lower tier school. You can’t beat every team by double digits. Fans need to be happy that their team won. A fan mad that their team won by a smaller amount than they expected is like being mad at a traffic jam outside of rush hour. It happens, but you can’t do anything about it.

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What a March for the Gamecocks Men’s basketball team.

                 Just like most March’s, there is always that one surprise team who comes out of nowhere and makes a fantastic run throughout the tournament by beating some of the best teams in the field. This March was no different. Coming into the tournament, the Gamecocks of South Carolina were not given much of a chance to get very far through the tournament, especially with Duke most likely waiting in the second round if they did pass an offensive power in Marquette. Out of nowhere this basketball team, who basically limped into the tournament by going 3-6 in the final 9 games of the season including the conference tournament, and was believed to be over seeded, won and won impressively. The way this team played showed that they deserve to be there this year and possibly for years to come. gamecocks

                Throughout the tournament, this team embodied what their fierce coach, Frank Martin, preached, and that is defense. This team was one of the best defensive teams in the country during the regular season, but as the season went on, there were signs that the defense was starting to fade. This team’s defense was a major reason they could win at least 20 games for the second straight year, but when the defense was fading, this team couldn’t win much. The offense for the Gamecocks was mostly built through the defense, but the team took a hit when the defense slipped. So of course, no one would think a team like this would make a run like they did.

                This team got something to click coming into the tournament, where not only did their defense came back vigorously, but also their offense found life. Not only was the team lead by Frank Martin, they were also led by senior point guard, Sindarius Thornwell, who won the SEC player of the year. Through the first four games, Sindarius averaged more than 24 points a game and was big on the defense by disrupting plays and helped turn defense into offense. Thornwell fed off his coach’s fire throughout the tournament, and his teammates fed off him. Even though this team will lose Thornwell, as well as Duane Notice and Justin McKie, who are also seniors, it’s still loaded with talented players who could also lead this team after learning from the seniors.

                 thornwell This team was trying to become the first 7 seed to win a title since UCONN won it all back in the 2014 tournament. To put into perspective how impressive this run was for the team, this was only the 8th time that a team seeded 7th or lower has reached the Final Four since 2000, and out of the previous 7 times, only one team has managed to get back to the Final Four. All but one of the previous teams managed to get into some sort of postseason tournament, and out of the ten total teams who managed to get to the Final Four as a low seed, only half improved their record. The question is, can the Gamecocks beat the odds and get back to the Final Four or will history repeat and the Gamecocks either get knocked out early or miss it entirely.

                Sadly, as most runs end, so did the Gamecocks amazing run when they met up with the Bulldogs of Gonzaga in the Final Four. Even though they would not get passed Gonzaga, these tough and gritty Gamecocks did not give up and were so close to upsetting one of the best teams in the brackets. Although they would lose by 4 to the Bulldogs, they had a furious comeback when they were down by 14 at one point during the second half.

                This run through the tournament tells me that this team is moving in the right direction and will be back next year trying to recreate the magic that they had this time. The big question is, how close are they to really competing for a National Championship and being a big-time basketball program. The signs are there that show that they are moving in the right direction and that Coach Martin is the type of coach that will lead them there. Even if there is no championship for the men’s team, this is a successful season and a big step forward for the program in the eyes of many of the Gamecock faithful, who stayed during the losing and heartache in most of the decade.