COLUMBIA, S.C. — The season-long farewell tour that the South Carolina basketball seniors created for themselves has reached another stop.
They just hope it’s not a one-night only booking.
“We got an extended date this week for the tour,” guard Sindarius Thornwell said. “Hopefully, we can get the tour extended to some more extra sites.”
Thornwell, Duane Notice and Justin McKie came up with the concept of the farewell tour early in the season during a road conference game. McKie said the concept arose after shootaround as players Snapchatted the arena and it stuck.
It has reached what McKie called “an addition to the farewell tour” by reaching the NCAA Tournament and playing against Marquette at 9:50 p.m. ET Friday night in Greenville.
But to extend it now means doing something that hasn’t been done in 44 years: South Carolina basketball winning an NCAA Tournament game. The Gamecocks haven’t done that since 1973, but they also haven’t had a whole lot of opportunities. This team has one, giving the program its first crack at a tournament win since 2004.
“I can tell you personally nothing would make me happier for us to eventually break that,” coach Frank Martin said. “You go back and you think of some of the guys that have played at South Carolina, the incredible coaches that have coached at South Carolina over those 44 years, I think it’s one of those stats that you’re thinking, ‘How is that happening?’
“How does Frank McGuire not win an NCAA game since 1973? How does Eddie Fogler? Dave Odom? Keep going, the names of coaches and players that have come through here. “
This week, the Gamecocks had longtime equipment manager Mac Credille speak with them about how much it means to him to see USC back in the tournament. Credille, who has been with the Gamecocks since 1977, also touched on what it would mean to him to see the Gamecocks win a game in the NCAA Tournament.
“To be able to accomplish it, I think, would make a lot of people smile,” Martin said. “At the end of the day, that’s what our job and life is — to make others smile.”
So as happy as the Gamecocks are to be back in the NCAA Tournament, they don’t want it to be the end of the road. Being here broke one drought, but there’s a longer one that still remains unbroken.
“The goal is win and advance,” Thornwell said. “We can keep the tour going — that’s the goal.”