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LSU and South Carolina emerging as one of college sports’ top rivalries

If it wasn’t obvious before, it is now. LSU vs. South Carolina is beginning to emerge as not just one of the biggest rivalries in women’s basketball, but in all of college sports.

You can’t force a rivalry, although leagues and conferences have tried. It has to develop naturally. More often than not, rivalries are based on location. It’s easy to develop a rivalry with a school just an hour or two down the road.

That’s not the case here, though. With LSU and South Carolina, it’s a rivalry that stems from good old-fashioned narrative.

These are the last two national champions, both led by legendary coaches. When these two meet, it captures the sport’s attention, heightening the intensity even when the game lacks postseason implications.

What we saw on Sunday was a meeting between two parties that just don’t like one another. There’s a certain level of respect, but there’s no love lost.

Some might hesitate to call this one of the best rivalries in college sports given LSU hasn’t beaten Dawn Staley’s South Carolina since 2012. And while its true LSU is still looking to get over the hump, the games haven’t lacked competitiveness.

The history isn’t there with this one. But for now, that doesn’t matter. The story developing here is one of the most interesting in college sports.

That doesn’t mean it will be that way in 10-years. Because, again, this rivalry has everything to do with the pieces in place right now. The elements that make this match captivating now won’t be in place forever.

But its games like these, along with the star power of players like Caitlyn Clark and Angel Reese, that are leading to the rise of women’s basketball.

A sport is built through rivalries. It’s one of the reasons people care so much about SEC football. A rivalry makes a game more than a game.

These meetings continue to be the type of heavyweight battle this sport needs. On Sunday, it was heated, and it got to a point players and coaches would like to avoid in the future.

But the intensity mirrored something you’d see on a SEC Football field. Kept under control, that’s good for the sport and we’d be lucky to see these teams meet a third time in the NCAA Tournament.

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Story originally appeared on LSU Tigers Wire