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Selection Sunday Preview: Final prediction for South Carolina

Before we learn the Gamecocks ultimate fate, we’ll try to predict exactly where they’ll land one final time.

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NCAA Basketball: SEC Tournament-South Carolina vs Alabama Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports

For a long time Selection Sunday hasn’t meant a hill of beans to Gamecock basketball fans, but now two years in a row they’ve had something to anticipate.

Even though for those two years South Carolina has not only been sub-.500 in February/March but one-and-done in the SEC tournament too — it doesn’t change the fact South Carolina is in the hunt on Selection Sunday.

So now we wait the painstaking, handful of hours to see where South Carolina falls in the 68-team bracket. I know many of you out there are still worried about whether or not the Gamecocks will be in after the recent events Friday afternoon, but rest assured...

They’re in. No doubt about it.

However, thank your lucky stars Syracuse and Michigan turned their seasons around because if they hadn’t there would be a lot more sweating then there already is in Columbia right now.

Let’s take a look at the specifics for South Carolina coming into this tournament:

RPI: 30th

SOS: 57th

SOR: 38th

W-L vs. 1-50: 4-5

W-L vs. 51-100: 7-4

Those are all far better than what South Carolina was working with last season, and are on par with teams like Arkansas, Oklahoma State and Wake Forest. If those teams have nothing to worry about, then neither does South Carolina.

The only real thing to worry about now is what seed South Carolina winds up in, what region they’ll play in and finally who the Gamecocks get matched up with.

There are four major bracketology sites to check during the day, and as of right now they have South Carolina matched up as follows:

Joe Lunardi, ESPN: No. 8 Seed West vs. No. 9 Oklahoma State

Jerry Palm, CBS: No. 9 Midwest vs. No. 8 Miami

Chris Dobbertean, SB Nation: No. 10 West vs. No. 7 Northwestern

Shelby Mast, USA Today: No. 9 West vs. No. 8 Marquette

The greater minds seem to believe South Carolina will fall somewhere between seven and ten. At this point I think a No. 7 seed is a little rich for South Carolina’s blood, so eight, nine or ten is where to realistically look.

If you dig deeper into Lunardi’s BPI rankings and resume factors, he had South Carolina listed as a ten seed. When you look at those teams I compared South Carolina to earlier — Arkansas, Wake Forest and Oklahoma State — they all fall in the eight to eleven range too.

I’d like to believe South Carolina falls into the middle of that range, and at some point two analysts agreed that Northwestern would be a likely first round match up.

Northwestern put up a strong showing in the Big Ten tournament, which I think seals them as a solid seven/eight seed. It’d be an interesting match up between two teams who haven’t been in the NCAA tournament for a long time — and a win in the first round would be huge for both programs.

So if I’m going to make one final prediction, it’s going to be:

Midwest, Tulsa: No. 8 Northwestern vs. No. 9 South Carolina