The NCAA Tournament field has been announced, and the South Carolina Gamecocks are a top seed, as expected. If they make it out of Columbia alive, they'll travel to Greensboro, N.C. for the Sweet 16.
The Greensboro bid comes as a minor surprise to some pundits, many of whom expected the spot to go to the Notre Dame Fighting Irish, who are ranked ahead of Carolina by most voters. The selection committee is thought to reward deserving teams with favorable geographic destinations. With the Irish headed to Oklahoma City, either that didn't happen in this case or the committee decided South Carolina deserved the geographically friendly bid. The two team are obviously very close.
Looking at the bracket, the first thing to note is that Carolina will likely see some familiar faces. The Gamecocks may face eight-seed Syracuse in the second round. The Orange pushed the Gamecocks hard earlier in the season.
There may be a battle of the Carolinas in the Sweet 16, as UNC is the region's four seed. The Gamecocks lost in the Sweet 16 to UNC a year ago. The Heels had a similar year record-wise in 2015 as they did last year, but this year they lack the transcendent talent they had last season in Diamond DeShields, who was integral to the Heels' victory. Hopefully this is the year Carolina finally gets the win over its rival to the north, should the matchup materialize.
If Carolina can then make it past the Elite Eight, where it might face two seed FSU, it would face the winner of the Spokane bracket. The top seed in that bracket is Maryland, likely the weakest of the top seeds. The two seed is Tennessee, a team that Carolina would appear to be better than after two solid face-to-face wins.