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Sixth-Seeded Gamecocks Headed Back to NCAA Tournament
Men's Basketball  . 

Sixth-Seeded Gamecocks Headed Back to NCAA Tournament

South Carolina Athletics

South Carolina will face No. 11 seed Oregon in the opening round on Thursday, March 21, in Pittsburgh

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – No. 15/16 South Carolina (26-7, 13-5 SEC) heard its name called on Selection Sunday for the first time since 2017 as CBS revealed the bracket for the 2024 Division 1 Men’s Basketball Championship. The sixth-seeded Gamecocks will face 11-seed Oregon (23-11, 12-8 Pac-12), the Pac-12 Tournament Champions, in the opening round of the NCAA Midwest Regional in Pittsburgh on Thursday, March 21.

No. 3 seed Creighton (23-9, 14-6 Big East) and No. 14 seed Akron (24-10, 13-5 MAC) are in the Gamecocks’ quadrant at PPG Paints Arena.

The Gamecocks and Ducks will tip at 4 p.m. (ET) on Thursday with Andrew Catalon (pxp), Steve Lappas (analyst) and Evan Washburn (reporter) on the call for the TNT broadcast.

This marks the program’s 10th NCAA Tournament appearance and first since the historic 2017 Final Four run, the school’s only appearance in the National Semifinals. Carolina boast an all-time record of 8-10 in NCAA Tournament games with four Sweet 16 appearances (1971, 1972, 1973 and 2017).

The 2023-24 Gamecocks have etched their name in history as second-year head coach and Naismith National Coach of the Year candidate Lamont Paris has led the single-greatest turnaround in program history, improving the team’s win total by 15 games. South Carolina’s 25 regular season wins are a new program record and the team’s 26 overall wins are tied with the 2016-17 team for the most single-season wins in program history. He now becomes the sixth coach in program history to lead his team to the NCAA Tournament (Frank McGuire, George Felton, Eddie Fogler, Dave Odom and Frank Martin).

Paris, who was named SEC Coach of the Year by the league’s coaches and the AP, has guided his team to a 26-7 overall record and a 13-5 record in SEC games as the team T-2nd in one of the best, deepest leagues in the country. The 13th SEC wins are the second most in program history behind only the 1996-97 SEC Champion squad (went 15-1 to win first and only league crown in Gamecock history).

This is the second NCAA Tournament appearance for Paris as a head coach as he led Chattanooga to March Madness in 2022 after winning the Southern Conference Tournament Championship. The Mocs were a 13-seed and fell in a heartbreaker, 54-53, to 4-seed Illinois in Pittsburgh.

The Gamecocks won seven SEC games on the road this season, tying the 1996-97 team for the most SEC victories away from home in a single season. Carolina boasts an impressive 12-4 record in true road and neutral site games this season. That’s the best mark in the SEC and the fourth-best mark in the nation amongst the Power Six behind only No. 1/1 Houston, No. 2/2 UCONN and No. 3/3 Purdue, who are all 13-3 away from home this season.

South Carolina is 3-4 against AP Top-25 opponents this season. The Gamecocks are one of just 18 teams in the country with multiple top-10 wins and one of five teams in the nation with a top-five true road win. Carolina beat No. 6/6 Kentucky 79-62 at home on Jan. 23 and No. 5/5 Tennessee, 63-59, in Knoxville on Jan. 30. Per Elias Sports Bureau, it was the first time the Gamecocks had defeated a pair of top-10 teams in a three-game stretch since 1968. Carolina’s win over the Vols was the team’s first AP Top-Five road victory since defeating No. 3 Kentucky, 72-66, on March 2, 1997.

The Gamecocks returned to the top-25 for the first time since 2017 back in Week 14 on Feb. 5 and has remained there the past six weeks and will likely finish the regular season ranked in the AP Top-25 Poll for the first time since being ranked No. 14 in the final AP Poll of 1998. The Gamecocks have been ranked as high as No. 11 in both major polls this season, the highest top-25 mark for the program since being slotted 11th in Week 7 (Dec. 29) of the 1997-98 season.

Eight teams total from the SEC received invitations to the 2024 NCAA Tournament, which ties the Big 12 for the most bids by any conference.