10 Reasons You Need to Hop on the Gamecock Bandwagon A very biased list from a current carolina student

By Danielle Barilla

(All pictures found on Twitter)

For the first time EVER the Gamecock Men's Basketball team is in the Final Four. Some may call it a Cinderella story; others may say the Gamecocks were seeded too high for that to be a consideration. Either way, the Gamecock's journey to the Final Four has been exhilarating.

Here's why every fan without a team, or anyone who hopped on the Clemson bandwagon during football season and is looking for any reason to jump off (because truly that orange? It's horrible!), needs to cheer for the University of South Carolina, across all sports.

1. Let's talk about the women's team

via @GamecockWBB

The Gamecock Basketball squad for the women are just as good if not better than the men. Tonight at 9, they also fight for their spot in the Final Four. This isn't new for Dawn Staley's squad who reached the Final Four in 2015. They showed no mercy in the Sweet 16 beating Quinnipiac 100-58 after a close game in the Round of 32 beating Arizona State 71-68. It won't be an easy game tonight taking on the three-seeded Florida State. Be sure to tune in and cheer them on!

2. But... The Gamecocks "aren't good at football"

via @GamecocksOnline

At Carolina, we look for quality AND quantity when it comes to athletics. Of course the Gamecocks would love for every team to bring home a national championship in every sport, but that's just unreasonable to expect. But did you know, in the last full year, the Gamecocks are the only school to play in a baseball Super Regional, a football Bowl Game and appear in the Men's and Women's Sweet 16s? (via @CharlesBloom)

Now let me try and take down that argument that the Gamecocks "aren't good at football." The Gamecocks aren't BAD at football either. When you hit rock bottom, there's no where to go but up, and that's exactly what the Gamecocks have done and what they will continue to do.

via @GamecocksOnline

The Gamecocks are a young team. Remember that overtime Birmingham Bowl loss? All 481 of the total yards were recorded by freshman and sophomores. Throughout the regular season, 76 percent of passing yards from quarterbacks came from freshman and sophomores; 80 percent of rushing yards from running backs came from freshman and sophomores; and 100 percent of receiving yards by wide receivers and tight ends came from freshman and sophomores.

And let me just throw one more thing out there. How many schools have a GRAMMY Award-winning singer offer to play a free concert if the football team reaches six wins and actually holds true to their word? Darius Rucker will keep his promise next month, performing a free concert for students at Colonial Life Arena.

via @ToriRichman

(Follow Tori Richman on Twitter! She is so talented!)

3. That brings me to another great point... Darius Rucker.

The man is a true Gamecock fan. He bleeds Garnet and Black. He takes pictures with countless fans as he tailgates for football games. He performed a live concert on the Historic Horseshoe at the dedication of the new School of Journalism. He's performed the national anthem at a basketball game. He looks for any reason to visit his Alma Mater and cheer on his team.

via Twitter

You thought he was a baby because the Dolphins make Hootie cry? Just wait until you watch him watch the Gamecocks make the Final Four. While in attendance at the Gamecocks Elite Eight Game against the Florida Gators, my boy Darius shed a few tears. But let him cry if the tears fall down like rain, because this Gamecock knows how huge this tournament run is for the University of South Carolina.

4. This reason is specifically for SEC fans...

via @MSG

Florida Fans - Wouldn't you rather lose to the winner of the NCAA Tournament? I know that's been my theory in the past. In any tournament, I'd rather lose to the winners than lose to the losers. So come and join us for the next two games! We'd be happy to have you.

via @KentuckyMBB

Kentucky Fans - See... The above theory cannot apply to you. If that was the case, you'd be cheering for the other Carolina. You do realize North Carolina has won plenty of times, right? Go ahead and cheer for your own conference because we deserve a turn and North Carolina is probably running out of room for trophies anyway.

via @GamecocksOnline

Everyone else - Raise your hand if you're sick and tired of the ACC claiming the title of "basketball conference." I sure am! The SEC had three teams in the Sweet 16 and the Elite Eight while the ACC had one. SEC basketball has had Florida and Kentucky carrying the conference, but those days are over. The SEC is at the top now, and that credibility will only strengthen with a national title for the Gamecocks.

5. We jump in fountains

via @HarrisPastides

This may seem insignificant to you, but this wasn't a tradition until March 19th when the Gamecocks upset Duke. Luckily, the Gamecocks have kept winning since that night in order to establish this tradition. It is basically written in stone that students jump in the pollen-filled, green, fairly nasty looking water of the Thomas Cooper Reflection Fountain when the Gamecocks defy the odds and step closer to the National Championship. I have a feeling this tradition will carry forward and students will also jump in when we beat Clemson in football next year.

@R_AND4

I personally have vowed to never step in that fountain, unless the university decides to chlorinate it, but you can't deny it sure looks fun!

6. We have the men's and women's SEC Players of the Year

via @GamecocksOnline

Ladies first...A'ja Wilson is incredible and she has the SEC Freshman of the Year (2015) and two SEC Player of the Year (2016, 2017) honors to prove it. On top of her basketball skills, she's absolutely hilarious. Props to you, A'ja... One of the greatest to ever wear a Gamecock uniform.

via @SECNetwork

Sindarius Thornwell a.k.a The Goat is on fire this month/this entire year TBH. For starters, he's scored 103 points in 4 NCAA tournament games. He's only the fourth SEC player to do that EVER. I could go on and on, but Sin is simply one of the greatest to play for the Gamecocks and has been an incredible leader as the Gamecocks make this historic run.

via Twitter

7. Frank. Freaking. Martin.

I probably should have put this closer to the top, but I wanted to emphasize reasons other than the men's basketball team specifically. There were plenty of Gamecock fans who maybe didn't love Coach Martin due to his hot temper during games. If you haven't listened to his press conferences since gaining national attention this tournament, you need to just scroll through Twitter because this dude is everywhere and man does he have good things to say!

via Twitter

Frank Martin, hired by the Gamecocks five years ago today, is everything a school wants in a coach. This tournament run has simply validated that.

via @Cocky2001

8. Cocky is a mascot of the people, for the people

Cocky is simply magical. He is the greatest mascot in sports. If for no other reason, you need to be a Gamecock fan simply because you are a Cocky fan. First of all, he managed to fly between California and New York to cheer for both of his basketball squads.

Second, when Harris Pastides took to Twitter announcing students still had class, Cocky didn't like the response. He doesn't mind giving the university prez a piece of his mind when Pastides does his students wrong. He fights for his students and that is what everyone deserves in a mascot.

9. Carolina Triple Crown

Coastal Carolina was first, bringing home the College World Series title last spring. Clemson *cringe* won the National Championship in football in January. And now, South Carolina has a shot to bring home the Triple Crown and a basketball national championship. A win would be huge for the Palmetto State, so essentially, everyone in South Carolina should be pulling for the Gamecocks.

Disclaimer: I personally could not find it in my heart to cheer for Clemson in the College Football Playoff. With that being said, there are no hard feelings if Clemson fans can't find it in their hearts to cheer for the Gamecocks. I still dislike Clemson no matter what choice you make, but it isn't like you have anyone else to cheer for since you didn't make the tournament at all and managed to blow a 20-point lead AT HOME in the first round of the NIT.

10. Join the greatest fan base in the nation

It isn't all sunshine and rainbows as a Gamecock fan. It's been an amazing few weeks, but that comes after endless heartbreak and disappointment in the past. With that being said, Carolina fans have never faltered. They are strong, passionate fans who will travel anywhere to cheer for their team. They show up in masses of thousands simply to welcome home their team. This is a group you want to be a part of. This is a group who stands together, through the losses, which makes the wins all that much sweeter.

via GoFundMe

I mean, come on. In less than 24 hours fans have raised $5,600 and counting for one of the most devoted to make it to the Final Four.

Come and join our family! There's No Limits to the fun we will have, and we'd be happy to have you! Just be prepared to burn every piece of orange clothing you own.

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