It’s always fun when a local sportscaster interacts with the viewership and the community in which he or she works, especially when good-natured jokes or gestures are involved.

At Columbia, South Carolina’s Fox affiliate, WACH, sports anchor Mike Uva (pronounced “You-Vah”) has had some fun with his last name when the University of South Carolina plays the University of Virginia, informally known as UVA.

On Sunday, the USC men’s basketball team visited Charlottesville to play No. 9 Virginia. Going in, the game looked like a mismatch. The Cavaliers are the reigning national champions and held a 9-1 record, while the Gamecocks didn’t qualify for the NCAA Tournament last season (going 16-16) and carried a 7-4 mark into John Paul Jones Arena.

Yet South Carolina played like the top 10 team and double-digit favorite, shooting 55 percent from the field and leading for most of the game. Virginia came back to tie the score with 11 minutes remaining, but the Gamecocks followed up by hitting seven straight shots to put the game away and eventually won, 70-59.

As Uva reminded his audience, he changed his last name to “Gamecock” in March 2018 when the USC women’s basketball team defeated Virginia in the NCAA Tournament. This time around, he wanted to try something different and took suggestions from his Twitter followers.

The winning choice may not have been creative, but it was certainly safe for TV and appropriate for the occasion. For one night, Mike Uva was Mike “USC” for his sportscast.

Fortunately for UVA, the Gamecocks play in the SEC and the Cavaliers are an ACC school so he doesn’t have to change his name too often.

But South Carolina and Virginia did face each other in last year’s Belk Bowl. That compelled Uva to change his last name to “Belk” in return for the retailer donating 39 coats to WACH. All for a good cause. Call it a consolation for the Cavaliers winning big, 28-0.

Maybe it’s better for USC if Uva keeps the name-change thing to basketball.

About Ian Casselberry

Ian is a writer, editor, and podcaster. You can find his work at Awful Announcing and The Comeback. He's written for Sports Illustrated, Yahoo Sports, MLive, Bleacher Report, and SB Nation.