COLUMBIA -- It’s been a long few weeks for South Carolina basketball. The Gamecocks, after beating Virginia, have lost their last three games, including the first two to start conference play, and are still looking for some answers with 17 regular season games left.
As they prepare to host No. 10 Kentucky Wednesday, there’s mounting frustration from the fan base that Frank Martin isn’t worried about.
“I don’t read chat rooms, I’m not into gossip. Tell me one positive thing that comes out of social media. So why do you worry about it? You have a job to do: interview me and interview players. Why are you listening to people who have no idea what we go through? Why don’t you go call the people who were positive three games ago when we just beat Virginia? Call them or email them. Send them a tweet and see what they have to say. Can you imagine if those people actually coached or played? The ones that quit with 17 games left in the season.”
The Gamecocks (8-7, 0-2 SEC) rattled off two quality wins in mid-December, beating both Clemson and then-No. 9 Virginia on the road before losing their next three games against Stetson (NET No. 322), Florida (53) and at Tennessee (70).
They’ve played well in stretches, especially in their last two games, playing Florida close until the final media timeout and losing by just one to Tennessee with plenty of chances to win late in the game.
They ultimately lost 56-55 after A.J. Lawson committed an offensive foul on what would have been the potential game-winning shot.
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“We’re that close. We just played Florida, who everyone predicted to be the best team in the league, OK? Then we went and played Tennessee in front of 21,000 people. The Stetson deal, I get it man. That’s on me. That was embarrassing. I told you, I’ve never been more embarrassed for how my team played as I was that day. I get we didn’t beat Florida and I get we didn’t beat Tennessee.
"We just played in front of 21,000 people against a team that won the league two years ago, lost on the last day last year to win the league again that returns their two-guard, fifth-year senior center, three-year starter in Yves Pons; three-year guy that’s played all three years in Jalen Johnson,” Martin said. “You can quote me on this, let’s be glad (negative people are) not playing or coaching at South Carolina or the rest of the season would be a major problem.”
The Gamecocks come into this week as the No. 106-ranked team in KenPom after dropping their last three games.
Right now, TeamRankings.com gives the Gamecocks a 0.3 percent chance to win the SEC Tournament.
A loss would mark the first four-game losing streak since the end of non-conference play last year when they lost to Wyoming, Michigan, Clemson and Virginia. It would also mark the first three-game losing streak to start SEC play since 2014.