GREENVILLE, SC - Football at South Carolina may be the most popular sport but USC basketball is quickly turning into the hottest ticket during the winter and spring.
One basketball program is consistently great while the other is on the rise. USC athletics director Ray Tanner is the man behind the man and woman. USC women's head coach Dawn Staley and men's head coach Frank Martin have been on record all season about how Tanner has supported them and gave them time to grow and develop their programs into the ones we see today.
For the first time since 1989 both the men's and women's basketball teams are in the NCAA tournament at the same time.
The men's team just made history on Friday night winning their first NCAA tournament game since 1973. It's also their first trip to March Madness in 13 years.
The women's team just secured their fourth straight regular season SEC title and won three conference tournament titles in a row going into this year's tournament where they notched their fourth straight number one seed.
"It's exciting. Both of our teams are in the postseason. It's great for the University of South Carolina and great for the Southeastern conference," Tanner said after the men's 93-73 win over Marquette on Friday night. That victory was just hours after the women's team trounced UNC Asheville 90-40 in their NCAA opener at home.
Both programs are among the best in attendance as well. The women's team has led the country in average attendance the last three years and the men's team is in the top 15 in the country this season after humble beginnings in Frank Martin's first couple of seasons.
"Anytime your teams are doing well it elevates the status of your university and let's hope we continue to play," Tanner added.
May be this year will build into another and another and South Carolina can become one of the premier institutions for sports and education in the SEC and even the country. Before that South Carolina has business to take care of.
No.7 South Carolina faces No.2 Duke on Sunday at 8:40 pm ET in Greenville in the second round of the men's tournament while No.1 South Carolina hosts No.8 Arizona State at 7 pm ET in Colonial Life Arena on Sunday in the second round of the women's tournament.
The Gamecocks could both be going to the Sweet Sixteen with victories which will put USC on the map.
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