South Carolina Basketball: Gamecocks fall in final AP poll ahead of NCAA Tournament

With the NCAA Tournament starting this week, the South Carolina basketball team fell a bit in the final AP poll.
South Carolina basketball forward BJ Mack
South Carolina basketball forward BJ Mack / Denny Simmons / The Tennessean / USA

The most irrelevant AP poll of the season was released today. With the NCAA Tournament field announced yesterday on Selection Sunday, the poll doesn't matter much, but it is still nice to be included in the final AP ranking of the year. With their spot secure as a 6-seed in the Big Dance, this is the position South Carolina basketball fans find themselves in when looking at the final AP poll of the 2023-2024 season.

Lamont Paris' team has been ranked for the last six weeks or so as the Gamecocks navigated their way to a 13-5 finish in SEC play. USC debuted at 15th in the poll and peaked as high as 11th before spending most of their time between 15 and 21 in the AP poll. They were ranked 15th again after the regular season.

After a loss to the Auburn Tigers in the SEC Tournament, the Gamecocks dropped just a bit, settling into the 16th spot in the AP top-25. This marks the first time since the 1997-1998 season that the Gamecocks enter the NCAA Tournament as a ranked program.

In terms of NCAA Tournament seeding, the Gamecocks find themselves as a worse seed than several teams who trail them in the AP poll. The Kansas Jayhawks (#17, 4-seed), Gonzaga Bulldogs (#18, 5-seed), Alabama Crimson Tide (#19, 4-seed), Wisconsin Badgers (#23, 5-seed), and San Diego State (#24, 5-seed) all are ranked lower than the Gamecocks but were given better seeds in this year's March Madness.

The entire AP poll is listed below:

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

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