South Carolina’s chances of being in the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament no longer appear to be very strong.
USC’s RPI slipped to 65 on Sunday, and both of the major bracket prognosticators (ESPN’s Joe Lunardi and CBS Sports’ Jerry Palm) have the Gamecocks (24-8) completely out of this year’s tournament. USC lost Friday night in the SEC tournament loss to Georgia, the third loss of the season to the Bulldogs.
The Gamecocks got at least three votes of confidence Sunday from ESPN analysts Jay Bilas and Dick Vitale, as well as Fox Sports’ Stewart Mandel.
“Vanderbilt and South Carolina belong in that tournament,” Vitale said ahead of Sunday’s SEC tournament title game between Texas A&M and Kentucky.
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Lunardi on Saturday had South Carolina in Dayton playing in a First Four game. By Sunday, however, the Gamecocks were in his “first four out” of the tournament along with Monmouth, Vanderbilt and Syracuse. His “last four in” are Temple, Michigan, San Diego State and Saint Mary’s.
Palm as early as Saturday had South Carolina as “probably out,” saying: “The Gamecocks played a very bad non-conference schedule and seven of their eight losses, including three bad ones, have come to teams that are not likely to make the tournament. Their only win over a sure tournament team came at Texas A&M. If you’re an eye-test person, they spent the last month failing it. This is a classic example of a team the committee leaves out every chance it gets.” Palm doesn’t even consider USC as among his first four out. The full CBS bracketology projection is here.
Fox Sports’ Stewart Mandel has the Gamecocks among his last four in and has them facing Michigan in Dayton in the First Four.
It a “bubble tracker” published Sunday, the publication has South Carolina “out for now” but considers Florida in the tournament. The publication’s final bracket has USC among the first four teams out. (On Saturday, USA Today had the Gamecocks playing in the First Four.)
SB Nation no longer has USC in its final bracket either. Instead, Monmouth and South Carolina are out and replaced by Syracuse and Michigan.