If you're the South Carolina Gamecocks, you have to go somewhere else first.
This should come as a surprise to no one. The long slide to the NCAA tournament began several weeks ago and never really let up; South Carolina lost 10 of its last 17 games and went just 1-2 in the SEC tournament. Because of that, a team that started out 31-11 won't be a national seed and won't host a regional.
So where will the journey begin for the Gamecocks?
Coastal Carolina, which is about a 2- to 3-hour drive from Columbia.
N.C. State, [which] came to Columbia's regional last year, though USC and N.C. State did not meet.
North Carolina, Florida State and Miami also received regionals and are expected to be national seeds. USC played at North Carolina in last year's Super Regional round, but UNC will be hosting off-campus this year in Cary, N.C., because its stadium is being renovated.
No matter where the Gamecocks play, the key to winning remains the same. At risk of sounding like Joe Morgan, it is: Score runs.
Through the season and the SEC tournament, South Carolina scored 8.8 runs per victory; the Gamecocks cross the plate just 3.5 times per loss.
This will decide the Gamecocks' fate.
Boyd's World has the Gamecocks at No. 19 in the RPI, which (if accurate) guarantees them entry to the tournament but little more.
The official results will be announced Monday at 12:30 p.m. on ESPN.