Most Gamecock fans think of basketball season as the void between football and baseball season. This could not be more true if you only started paying attention to Gamecock sports during the Dave Odom or Darren Horn basketball coaching era at USC. Now the "new" coach, Frank Martin, is looking to change this trend and is looking to do it rather quickly. For us fans, this is a welcome sight.
After USC spanked Arkansas this past Saturday by the score of 75 to 54, USC fans are starting to notice what Frank Martin has been able to obtain this season. The 2013 Gamecocks men's hoops squad might not be as talented as the team from last season but they play good defense and hustle. Coach Martin has coached confidence and intensity and it seems to be paying off. Through six game in conference play, the Gamecocks have already tied their win total from last season. That is huge if you think of the change this program has gone through combined with the players on the team this season.
The question now will be – can USC beat a top ranked Florida team on the road? USC will need to defend the post against the Gators as well as slow down Erik Murphy. Murphy is a 6-10 forward that can play the post as well as shoot from behind the arc. Murphy will cause match-up problems for the smaller Gamecocks and that could be the difference in the game on Wednesday. USC will also need to account for Florida's senior guard Kenny Boynton, as he leads the team in scoring with 13.6 points per game. To put it simple, USC needs to continue their solid defense, limit turnovers and get some three balls to fall.
As far as the rest of the season goes, if Coach Martin can keep this team focused and playing with the same intensity as the Arkansas game, I would consider this season a success already and could earn a NIT berth at the rate they are going.