South Carolina basketball had a season unlike any in its history and now it finished the season ranked as highly as any team in school history.
The Gamecocks checked in at No. 6 in the postseason USA Today Coaches Poll on Tuesday, shooting past its highest ranking to finish in the Top 10. USC also finished ranked No. 6 in the final AP Poll in 1971-72.
South Carolina (26-11) ended the season in the Final Four, winning four NCAA Tournament games — as many as it had in program history — in the span of 10 days. The season came to an end in a heartbreaking 77-73 loss to Gonzaga in Glendale, Ariz. The Gamecocks fell one win shy of playing for a national title.
South Carolina was the only team in the poll’s top 15 teams with more than 10 losses.
The Gamecocks won a program-record 26 games, surpassing lastseason’s 25, which had tied the school record. They were led by SEC player of the year Sindarius Thornwell, who put on a show through the NCAA Tournament in putting his name on the national radar for people who had not seen him play.
South Carolina graduates Thornwell, Duane Notice and Justin McKie from this season’s team. Coach Frank Martin could have a returning nucleus of PJ Dozier, Chris Silva and Maik Kostar, although Dozier could opt to turn pro.