South Carolina Republican Reps. Joe Wilson and Tom Rice are betting on the University of South Carolina Gamecocks as the school heads into the NCAA Final Four tournament this weekend.
Wilson, a graduate of the USC School of Law, is facing off against California Democratic Rep. Ted Lieu, a graduate of Stanford University, for the women’s basketball game between the schools Friday.
For the South Carolina men’s game against Gonzaga University on Saturday, Wilson is betting against Washington state Republican Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers.
The stakes are local products from each member’s district. Wilson is putting up mustard-based barbecue sauce from Shealy’s Bar-B-Que, a restaurant in Batesburg-Leesville, South Carolina, for both bets.
Rice made a bet with Arkansas Republican Rep. Steve Womack on the men’s basketball game over dinner after Womack asked whom Rice was rooting for. Rice, who’s also a graduate of the USC School of Law, said he was pulling for his alma mater, said Cassie Boehm, Rice’s communications director. The loser has to take the winner to his favorite restaurant.
As for the other members of the South Carolina delegation, Republican Rep. Mark Sanford declined to say whether he had any specific wagers on the game.
“There’s an amazing amount of excitement back home on what the University of South Carolina has pulled off thus far, and there’s a great amount of hope of what they still may do in the Final Four,” Sanford told McClatchy. “I won’t go into the particularities of delegation wagers, but I will just say there are a number of us more hopeful than others on the Gamecocks’ success.”
Michele Exner, communications director for Republican Sen. Tim Scott, said the senator hadn’t made any specific bets. Scott, however, echoed Sanford’s hopes.
“I’m believing in prayer. I think we’re going to win. Look for a miracle. Our team has played its best game so far,” Scott said of both the Gamecocks’ men’s and women’s teams.
Spokespeople for Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham, Republican Reps. Jeff Duncan and Trey Gowdy and Democratic Rep. Jim Clyburn said they weren’t aware of any bets.