South Carolina a Basketball State?

Brooks DixonContributor IMarch 9, 2010

As the NCAA tournament field comes to a close, we notice that there are only two likely teams from the state of North Carolina in the field.

Yes, that’s right, the traditional basketball state not only has just two of its Tobacco Road teams likely in the field (Duke and Wake Forest), but it will not have Davidson, Charlotte, or East Carolina in the field this year.

However, if we travel down to the place where football has always been king, we find three NCAA tournament teams.

Yes, you heard me right, Wofford and Winthrop have locked up automatic bids by winning the Southern Conference and Big South championships respectively, and Clemson appears to be a lock to be in the field of 65.

Wofford captured its first ever NCAA tournament bid this weekend with a win over Appalachian State, and Winthrop with a win over fellow South Carolina team Coastal Carolina.

Not to mention the success of other teams in the state like the College of Charleston Cougars (21-11) or Coastal Carolina (28-6)—even the South Carolina Gamecocks had their moment in the sun with a win over Kentucky.

So is basketball the new state pastime?

Probably not, but I figured that the state deserved their fair share of attention, especially with the state’s 2-1 record against defending national champs North Carolina (the lone loss coming to the Presbyterian blue hose and their lone traveling fan).

Not that beating North Carolina this season has been hard to come by, but it seems to this writer that the state which has always played Robin to its neighbors up north has finally made a name for itself.

Head-to-head, are its teams better? Nope...but that’s a different discussion. Today, South Carolina has its moment in the sun.