South Carolina up to 14-0 following win at Auburn

Frank Martin’s team is on pace to waltz into the NCAAs. (USATSI)

South Carolina continues to impress, and with each win the Gamecocks are no doubt bringing in more converts. Consider me one of them — almost. My colleague told you a few nights ago just how great this start is, regardless of strength of schedule. For South Carolina to have a season reach January without a loss, it’s gargantuan for the program.

That I can certainly appreciate. There are dozens of teams every year that play really bad schedules, and nearly all of those teams, if not all of them, lose at least one game in that slate. Sometimes many more than one. So when you can simply not have a bad night, it’s worth a little something.

On Tuesday night, Frank Martin got his team won more win for the board, this one on the road against conference foe Auburn . South Carolina got a good enough push, but, really, it speaks to the legitimacy of Martin’s team when you consider Auburn didn’t truly threaten in the second half. South Carolina won 81-69 and had five players score in double digits.

It was sloppy at times, but Martin’s guys shot 50 percent and looked the role of favorite.

This is part of what USC is doing these days.

That’s Sindarius Thornwell threading a no-look dime in transition Laimonas Chatkevicius. Very slick. Thornwell had a game-high 22.

Now, I’m not fully sold on South Carolina being a top-two SEC team, but I’m nearly there. The road wins mean a lot, especially since the nonconference schedule is among the worst for any team in the at-large conversation for the NCAA tournament right now. I’m not saying South Carolina needs to reach February without a loss to prove its legitimacy, but it will need to keep beating the teams it should if it wants good seeding and widespread respect.

The team is on its way. The next couple of weeks will be very worth tracking.

South Carolina gets a home game next as it tries to go to 15-0. Vanderbilt, which has been a big underachiever this season, comes to Columbia on Saturday.

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