South Carolina Basketball: Where Gamecocks sit in AP rankings ahead of SEC Tournament

South Carolina basketball came in ranked 15th in the AP top-25 poll ahead of the SEC Tournament.

South Carolina basketball coach Lamont Paris and wing Zach Davis
South Carolina basketball coach Lamont Paris and wing Zach Davis / Petre Thomas-USA TODAY Sports
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South Carolina basketball finished the regular season tied for 2nd place in the SEC after being picked to finish 14th (out of 14) in the league coming into the season. Unfortunately for the Gamecocks, though, thanks to the 4-way tie at #2, tiebreakers in place for SEC Tournament seeding have USC missing out on the double-bye and playing a day earlier in Nashville later this week as the 5-seed.

Even so, what Lamont Paris and his team have accomplished this season is nothing short of remarkable. After going 11-21 last year (tying a program record for losses), the Gamecocks are 25-6 (the best overall record in the SEC and a new program record for regular season wins) and are a lock for the NCAA Tournament when Selection Sunday rolls around next week.

Last week, South Carolina basketball slotted into the AP top-25 poll at #17 in the country. With a 1-1 week (including a close loss against the SEC championship-winning Tennessee Volunteers and a road win in overtime over an NCAA Tournament squad in the Mississippi State Bulldogs), many wondered where the Gamecocks might rank in this week's edition of the poll.

As it turned out, they moved up.

On Monday, the AP released their updated top-25, and the voters selected South Carolina basketball as the 15th-best team in the country.

The Gamecocks will have a chance to improve that ranking one last time before the NCAA Tournament begins next week. Heading into this weekend's SEC Tournament, USC will have at least one guaranteed game (against the winner of Arkansas and Vanderbilt), and with a win in that game, the Gamecocks would face the Auburn Tigers.

Carolina will play their first SEC Tournament game on Thursday sometime between 3:00 and 4:00 PM EST (25 minutes after the previous game, which tips off at 1:00), and the game can be watched on the SEC Network.

No matter the outcome on Thursday (and beyond), the Gamecocks will be participating in their first NCAA Tournament since the Final Four run at the end of the 2016-2017 season, and they are just two wins shy of the South Carolina basketball all-time record for wins in a season. Selection Sunday is next Sunday, and the show will begin at 6:00 PM EST on CBS.

The entire AP top-25 can be seen below:

  1. Houston Cougars
  2. UConn Huskies
  3. Purdue Boilermakers
  4. North Carolina Tar Heels
  5. Tennessee Volunteers
  6. Arizona Wildcats
  7. Iowa State Cyclones
  8. Creighton Blue Jays
  9. Kentucky Wildcats
  10. Marquette Golden Eagles
  11. Duke Blue Devils
  12. Auburn Tigers
  13. Illinois Fighting Illini
  14. Baylor Bears
  15. South Carolina Gamecocks
  16. Kansas Jayhawks
  17. Gonzaga Bulldogs
  18. Utah State Aggies
  19. Alabama Crimson Tide
  20. BYU Cougars
  21. Saint Mary's Gaels
  22. Washington State Cougars
  23. Nevada Wolfpacks
  24. Dayton Flyers
  25. Texas Tech Red Raiders

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