Remember when there was so much made of the Connecticut men’s and women’s basketball teams winning NCAA titles in the same season in 2004 and 2014?
Well, the state of South Carolina has a chance to make that look like a minimal achievement.
If I may steal a quote from LeBron James, “Not one. Not two. Not three …” but perhaps four?
With the South Carolina men’s basketball team reaching the Final Four with its 77-70 win over Florida on Sunday and the fact that the USC women are in the Elite Eight of their tournament, our state could wind up holding all four major college sports’ titles at once by next Monday.
Coastal Carolina got it started by making an improbable run through Omaha, Neb., to win the College World Series last summer. Then Clemson gave the state its second major college title when it knocked off Alabama in the College Football Playoff national title game.
Now, the USC men are two wins away from being crowned champs and the Gamecock women are three away from a title.
It’s safe to say our state has been the best in major college sports in the last year or so, and we’ll probably never see something like this again.
Most impressive, though, is how improbable each of them would be.
First, the Chanticleers made a magical run through the postseason, finishing off with a CWS title in its first trip there. They were no national seed; nor did they host any postseason games en route to the championship.
Second, Clemson made it back to the CFP final for a rematch with Alabama, which was considered by many to be hands down the best team in college football. The Tigers proved that wasn’t the case.
Like Clemson on the gridiron, the South Carolina women’s basketball team isn’t exactly a huge underdog as the No. 1 seed out of the Stockton, Calif., Region. However, bringing home the hardware would likely require a win over the almighty Connecticut women, who went undefeated this season, have won 110 straight games and are four-time defending champions. The Gamecocks’ next game is against No. 3 seed Florida state in the regional final at 9 p.m. Monday. Should they win that game and then another in the Final Four, the Gamecocks will be playing for a national title Sunday.
As for the USC men’s hoops team, this is a squad that wasn’t even sure it would make the NCAA Tournament after a late-season slide. Happy to get a shot, the Gamecocks have certainly made the most of it. In fact, they may just shock the world come next week. If they can beat top-seeded Gonzaga on Saturday, they’ll play for a championship Monday night.
And that’s coming from a team that hadn’t won an NCAA Tournament game in 44 years before this year.
There’s still work to be done for the two USC squads and nothing is guaranteed. But one thing’s for sure: Fans of our state’s college athletics’ squads are seeing something extremely rare.
These types of things don’t happen all the time – even if it has seemed like it in the past year.
The Coastal Carolina men’s basketball team begins play in the College Basketball Invitational finals as it hosts Game 1 of the best-of-three series against Wyoming at 7:30 p.m. Game 2 is at 9 p.m. Wednesday at Wyoming and Game 3, if necessary, is at 7 p.m. Friday at Wyoming. … The CCU baseball team plays at North Carolina at 6 p.m. Tuesday before against hitting the road for a three-game series against Georgia State. Game times are 6 p.m. Friday, 7 p.m. Saturday and 1 p.m. Sunday. … Coastal softball hosts Winthrop in a doubleheader beginning at 1 p.m. Tuesday, then hosts Louisiana-Monroe for a three-game series Saturday (DH, 1 p.m.) and Sunday (noon). … Coastal Carolina’s men’s tennis team hosts Delaware at 3 p.m. Tuesday and plays at Elon at 3 p.m. Friday. … CCU’s beach volleyball team plays a doubleheader at Mercer that begins at 3 p.m. Thursday and then hosts South Carolina (9 a.m.) and Stevenson (2:30 p.m.) on Saturday and Mercer (10:30 a.m.) and College of Charleston (noon) on Sunday. … The CCU women’s lacrosse team hosts Central Michigan at 5 p.m. Friday and plays at Detroit at noon Sunday. … Coastal Carolina’s track and field team competes in the VertKlasse Meeting on Friday and Saturday. … Coastal’s women’s tennis team hosts Emory at 3 p.m. Saturday. … CCU’s women’s golf team begins play in the Hawkeye El Tigre Invitational on Sunday. … The South Carolina men’s basketball team takes on Gonzaga in the Final Four on Saturday. … The USC women’s basketball team takes on Florida State in the Elite Eight of the NCAA Tournament at 9 p.m. Monday. … The NASCAR Monster Energy Cup Series heads to Martinsville Speedway for the STP 500 at 2 p.m. Sunday. … The PGA Tour heads to Houston for the Shell Houston Open from Thursday through Sunday. … The MLB season begins Sunday with three games on the slate: New York Yankees at Tampa Bay (1:10 p.m.), San Francisco at Arizona (4:10 p.m.) and Chicago Cubs at St. Louis (8:35 p.m.).