Clemson’s athletics had a good weekend including yet another upset in basketball against number six ranked Florida State.
Sure, South Carolina had a tough weekend in athletics with losses in men’s tennis and men’s basketball to Alabama, a tough loss to No. 10 ranked Grand Canyon in beach volleyball and losing the bragging rights to Tiger fans to talk about claiming this year’s baseball series.
But hear me out, I think there is a silver lining to this weekend:
The Clemson vs South Carolina rivalry is about to heat up in a major way.
The South Carolina and Clemson rivalry is one of the greatest rivalries in college athletics.
The rivalry in football extends all the way back to the late 1800’s as the battle for the Palmetto Bowl, making it the second longest uninterrupted series in FBS.
The rivalry on the diamond is the greatest among all of college baseball as I’ve previously written.
The rivalry between these two institutions has been missing a key sport to drive it other the edge as the most competitive rivalry in college sports history.
The Gamecocks basketball team has been dominant over the Tigers in men’s basketball, with a all-time series record of 91-79.
This year was no different, as the University of South Carolina won in Little John Coliseum with a 13 point win over Clemson.
FINAL: South Carolina holds Clemson without a FG the final 6:38 and wins by 13 at Littlejohn 🤙— Gamecock MBB (@GamecockMBB) December 16, 2019
📊 » 20 for @ItsAJLawson || 11 for @MaikKalev || 10 for @JahToDa (ALL IN THE SECOND HALF‼️) #Gamecocks🐔🏀 // #ForeverToThee pic.twitter.com/JM58fi5zis
South Carolina has had a mostly-successful season, with upset wins against Virginia and Kentucky, with impressive SEC play.
Clemson may be extremely low on the ACC standings with little chance of a tournament bid, but they have had great season defining moments.
Clemson did beat the Tarheels for the first time in program history at Chapel Hill.
Clemson’s slew of surprises didn’t stop there, when they extended their winning streak by upsetting #12 ranked Duke in a highly competitive ACC match-up.
Clemson has since upset two more top-ten teams, including Louisville and Florida State in Little John.
The future of the basketball rivalry
Clemson is currently ranked 35th on 247sports in recruiting for next season. South Carolina only has two-three star players committed for the upcoming season, making them well below Clemson (who has two-four stars).
With the recent string of upsets from the Tigers and obvious media attention due to their football program, I expect the Tigers to gain more highly-ranked recruits in the next few years.
The Gamecocks look to mostly bring back the same team, excluding phenomenal senior Maik Kotsar.
With explosive players like Keyshawn Bryant and Jermaine Couisnard, the future of Gamecocks basketball is bright.
That in mind, I think the Clemson basketball team has a much improved season next year and the South Carolina-Clemson rivalry will pour onto the basketball court.
The rivalry has always been there, it’s just never been as sought out as much by fans.
But with college basketball being the second largest collegiate sport and two improving teams in the state of South Carolina in both the Gamecocks and the Tigers, I predict next season will be the beginning of a more exciting rivalry in basketball with renewed sense of pride.