The South Carolina men’s basketball team will know its postseason fate Sunday night.
The NIT selection show begins at 8:30 p.m. on ESPNU. It can also be streamed via the WatchESPN app.
As of Sunday morning, the Gamecocks (17-16) are a No. 5 seed in the NIT bracket projection found on NYCBuckets.com. The site has USC traveling to Boise State for its first round game. The No. 1 seed in that eight-team region is Arizona State.
John Templon, who’s been an “NIT bracketologist” on NYCBuckets.com for a decade, told The State on Friday that he feels Carolina is “safely in” in the 32-team field.
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South Carolina coach Frank Martin told reporters in St. Louis on Thursday -- following USC’s loss to Arkansas in the second round of the SEC tournament -- that the Gamecocks would only accept an NIT bid, eliminating other postseason options such as the CBI or CIT.
Carolina is seeking its second NIT bid in three years. The 24-win Gamecocks narrowly missed the NCAA tournament in 2016, essentially making them a lock for the NIT. It won’t be as automatic this year, but the résumé -- which includes four “Quadrant 1” wins -- seems solid enough.
“I feel like there’s enough there where they’ll be considered really strongly,” Templon said. “I feel pretty comfortable about having them in the field. There aren’t a ton of teams that have better résumés than South Carolina that are below them. So I feel pretty good about them.”
The NIT hands out automatic bibs to those teams that win their conference regular season title, but don’t win their conference tournament. As of Sunday morning, eleven teams -- Middle Tennessee (Conference USA), UNC Asheville (Big South), Vermont (American East), UC Davis (Big West), Florida Gulf Coast (Atlantic Sun), SE Louisiana (Southland), Louisiana (Sun Belt), Wagner (Northeast Conference), Northern Kentucky (Horizon), Hampton (MEAC) and Rider (MAAC) -- fit that profile. Middle Tennessee (24-7) is an NCAA tournament bubble team that could open an NIT spot should the Big Dance coming calling.
The NIT automatic bid list could grow to 12 Sunday should Harvard fall to Penn in the Ivy League championship.