USC Men's Basketball

ESPN, NCAA.com list Gamecocks right on the edge of tournament field

Is South Carolina an NCAA Tournament team? Frank Martin weighs in

South Carolina coach Frank Martin talks “bubble” after the Gamecocks beat Ole Miss on Feb. 19, 2019, in Columbia.
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South Carolina coach Frank Martin talks “bubble” after the Gamecocks beat Ole Miss on Feb. 19, 2019, in Columbia.

Time to put South Carolina on the bubble.

At least that’s what a couple “bracketologists” are saying.

A day after NCAA.com’s Andy Katz did it, ESPN’s Joe Lunardi has the Gamecocks (14-12, 9-4 SEC) on the edge of making the NCAA Tournament.

Katz listed USC on Thursday among his “first four out” for the Big Dance. Lunardi on Friday has the Gamecocks among his first eight out.

Carolina has five games left in the regular season, including Saturday’s trip to Mississippi State (19-7, 7-6.) The Gamecocks, after topping Ole Miss on Tuesday, hold a one-game lead for fourth place in the SEC standings.

“Let me just throw a number out there,” Frank Martin said Tuesday. “(If a team wins) 12 league games in the SEC and doesn’t get in the NCAA tournament, I think that would be a travesty. I think that would be as sad as sad can be.”

KenPom.com gives Carolina at least a 40 percent chance to win four of its final five league games before the SEC tournament in Nashville.

USC’s only SEC losses have come against Tennessee (twice), Kentucky and LSU, all teams ranked in the top 13 of this week’s AP Poll.

“If they can get to the (NCAA) tournament,” said Ole Miss coach Kermit Davis said, “they sure can win games in the tournament.”

A Big Dance trip would be Carolina’s second in three years.

Andrew Ramspacher has been covering college athletics since 2010, serving as The State’s USC men’s basketball beat writer since October 2017. His work has been recognized by the Associated Press Sports Editors, Virginia Press Association and West Virginia Press Association. At a program-listed 5-foot-10, he’s always been destined to write about the game. Not play it.
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