We knew it was going to be a bad year for the University of South Carolina men’s basketball program, but we had no idea it was going to get this bad, this fast.

Fourth-year head coach Darrin Horn’s team fell in its second game of the season on Tuesday night … to Elon.

Wait … Elon? As in the former “Fighting Christians” of the Southern Conference?

Yup …

The Gamecocks – who went 2-11 down the stretch a year ago to finish the season 14-16  (their second consecutive losing campaign) – picked up right where they left off in falling 58-53 to the “Phoenix.” The loss dropped Horn to 0-4 on the road against Southern Conference teams during his tenure at USC, which may be coming to an end sooner rather than later if the players he’s recruited can’t find a way to put the ball in the basket.

Last year, Horn’s team finished the season with an abysmal .395 shooting percentage – which ranked 329th out of 335 Division I basketball programs.

Against Elon, Horn’s team hit just 31.3 percent of its field goals – and only 11.1 percent of its three-pointers.

“It’s obviously a very disappointing loss,” Horn said after the game. “We make no excuses. We didn’t play well enough to win the game.”

Ya think?

Anyway, after losing to Elon we can’t wait to see how Horn’s team performs against No. 1 North Carolina (November 25), No. 2 Kentucky (January 7 and February 4) and No. 3 Ohio State (December 17).

Actually we take that back … we can wait.

We wrote about the pitiful state of Gamecock basketball at the conclusion of last year’s disappointing season, but it looks as though things are even worse this year. Of course that’s to be expected considering last year’s leading scorer – guard Bruce Ellington – is currently a member of the Gamecock football team.

If you’re keeping score at home, the Gamecocks have reached the NCAA tournament just four times over the last thirty-six years – and haven’t won a game in the “Big Dance” since 1973.