South Carolina Basketball: Where the Gamecocks stand in latest Bracketology

South Carolina basketball didn't have a good week last week. Where do the Gamecocks stand in the latest Bracketology?

South Carolina basketball center Josh Gray
South Carolina basketball center Josh Gray / Jeff Blake-USA TODAY Sports

South Carolina basketball had a tough week last week. A blowout loss on the road against Auburn and a 16-point collapse at home against LSU left the Gamecocks 0-2 and dropped them out of their tie for 1st place in the SEC. However, Lamont Paris' team is still very much in the thick of things in the conference and in the NCAA Tournament picture.

Though overreactions have abounded, the Gamecocks are still a good basketball and still remain solidly in the March Madness discussion. In fact, the AP poll still had USC ranked in the top-25 this week, and heading into their "Bye Week" and into two winnable games over the next 8 days, Carolina has a big opportunity in front of them to make themselves into a Tourney "lock."

The national bracketologists seem to agree as South Carolina basketball remains solidly inside the projected field of 68 teams who will battle it out in March.

According to ESPN's Joe Lunardi, the Gamecocks are a 7-seed in the NCAA Tournament, a seed fans might remember was friendly to Carolina on their way to the 2016-2017 Final Four. Lunardi has Lamont Paris and company traveling out to the West Region. From the Sweet 16 on, the West Region will be played in Los Angeles.'s Andy Katz has the Fighting Q-Zips sitting as a 6-seed. He also has the Gamecocks traveling to the West Region.

CBS Sports' Jon Rothstein still has the Gamecocks inside his Rothstein 45 at #18, indicating he believes the Gamecocks' postseason chances are secure, for now. His projected NCAA Tournament field from this past weekend also included USC, but Rothstein did not predict seeding.

So, what does this mean?

It means that South Carolina basketball makes the NCAA Tournament barring a disastrous finish. The Gamecocks play five regular season games (@ Ole Miss, @ Texas A&M, Florida, Tennessee, @ Mississippi State) before the SEC Tournament. With a minimum of 6 games left, Carolina has the opportunity to pick up a "good win" (Quad-1 or Quad-2 victories) each time on the floor.

If the Gamecocks can bounce back from their 2-game slide with a couple of wins down the stretch, they will make the Tournament. If they win 3 games, they likely will have a favorable seed. Pick up 4 or more? Lamont Paris' squad could be a top-16 overall seed.

Ole Miss, Texas A&M, Florida, and Mississippi State are all considered just on the right side of the bubble or just on the wrong side of the bubble. Essentially, these are teams that are very similar to the Gamecocks according to most metrics.

While the schedule is very difficult, USC gets the opportunity to play 4 games against similar-strength teams, and whoever they get in the SEC Tournament likely will be in their talent range, as well. Oh, yeah, and the team left on the schedule who is better than Carolina? The Gamecocks beat them in their house earlier this season.

The NCAA Tournament still should be the expectation for South Carolina basketball fans, and as the Gamecocks can testify, once March Madness begins, anything can happen from there.

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