Cloninger Soundoff: Young team building confidence

Posted by DAVID CLONINGER on December 28, 2013 

Dec 28, 2013; Columbia, SC, USA; South Carolina Gamecocks head coach Frank Martin directs South Carolina Gamecocks forward Mindaugas Kacinas (25) against the Akron Zips in the second half at The Colonial Life Arena.

JEFF BLAKE — USA TODAY Sports

Is everything fixed? No.

But everything’s improving, which is all Frank Martin wanted game-to-game from this team.

Much of South Carolina’s recent success has had to do with matchups. The Gamecocks were a good mirror for St. Mary’s, and could out-muscle Akron, a team that has talent but doesn’t play very physically. That’s not taking away from USC beating all of them, because after losing back-to-back home games, any win should be cherished.

The Gamecocks are feeling good now after three wins in four games, as well they should. They’ll play tougher competition, they’ll play weaker competition.

A young team needs confidence that it can at least hang with everybody, though, and that’s what USC has done. It also won at home to boost its self-esteem, sorely needed after the Manhattan and USC Upstate losses.

If nothing else, it proves that final-stamping a team after a December loss is never wise.

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