Sara Yang/The Daily Gamecock

Gamecocks don't receive postseason basketball bid

South Carolina (16-16, 11-7 SEC) did not receive a bid to the National Invitational Tournament (NIT), ending the 2018-19 men’s basketball season.

The Gamecocks won 11 SEC games and received a double bye in the SEC Tournament for the third time in the last four years, but inconsistent play throughout the season would end up dooming South Carolina’s chances at postseason basketball for the second straight season after reaching the Final Four in 2017.

The Gamecocks started the season with a 5-7 non-conference record. South Carolina lost to Virginia and Michigan, two of the top teams in the country, in non-conference play. South Carolina also had two losses against much lower ranked teams, hurting its post-season chances early. 

The Gamecocks lost to Wyoming, who has a NET ranking of 321, and Stony Brook, who has a NET ranking of 156.

After winter break, the Gamecocks bounced back and defeated Division II school North Greenville before the SEC portion of the schedule. 

The Gamecocks began the SEC portion of the season 4-0, highlighted by victories over Florida in Gainesville and Mississippi State in Columbia. Both opponents earned NCAA tournament bids at the end of the season. The Gamecocks also defeated the SEC Tournament champion and NCAA tournament team Auburn Tigers at home, adding to their impressive conference resume.

However, the Gamecocks went on the road to Stillwater, Oklahoma for the SEC/Big 12 Challenge in January and fell to the Oklahoma State Cowboys, who only won 12 games this year, by a score of 74-70. The loss to the Cowboys added to the Gamecocks’ non-conference woes, bringing their non-conference record to 5-8.

The Gamecocks then bounced back and defeated Ole Miss, marking their fourth win over an NCAA tournament team at home 79-64. But they followed their win over the Rebels with three straight losses to Mississippi State, Alabama and Missouri, adding to their inconsistent season. 

The Gamecocks were able to finish the regular season with two straight wins over Texas A&M and Georgia, bringing their record to 16-15 (11-7 SEC), which allowed them to have a double bye for the third time in four years. 

South Carolina took on the future SEC Tournament champion Auburn Tigers in the quarterfinal rounds, and was tied at halftime, but the team fell to Auburn by a score of 73-64, ending their 2018-19 campaign. 

With the season coming to a close, seniors Hassani Gravett, Tre Campbell and Chris Silva are also ending their careers in garnet and black.

Gravett and Silva were the only starting players that were part of the 2017 Final Four team. 

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