11. South Carolina (21-3)
These Gamecocks truly have burst onto the scene this season. While their schedule wasn’t the most difficult early in the year, they’ve been playing their best basketball in recent weeks against their conference foes in the SEC. With each passing week that record seems to look better and better and the Gamecocks keep proving they belong higher in these rankings.
Tuesday’s action saw South Carolina win 68-65 at home against Ole Miss, holding on after building a decent lead in the opening half. Collin Murray-Boyles led the way with 16 points and 9 rebounds in a game where the offense wasn’t at its best. Things didn’t look great this weekend, as the Gamecocks trailed Vanderbilt at the half, but used a strong second half to win 75-60 at home over those Commodores. Murray-Boyles was even more terrific with 31 points and 7 rebounds to lead the charge.
Any team with 21 wins at this point in the season is certainly doing something worth lauding. Recent wins over Kentucky and Tennessee are proof that the Gamecocks aren’t just beating up on inferior foes; this team could be for real. They’re a legitimate threat to not only win the SEC but cause major havoc in the Big Dance. They’ll face a significant challenge at Auburn on Wednesday in what should be one of the next week’s best matchups.