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South Carolina misses NCAA Tournament field; NIT invite likely

The Gamecocks' resume wasn't enough to boost them into the tournament, and they'll likely have to settle for a bid in the NIT.

Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports

The South Carolina Gamecocks learned of their NCAA Tournament fate on Sunday night during CBS's annual Selection Show announcing the 68 teams that made the field. Unfortunately, a resume filled with unattractive losses - despite 24 wins - was enough for the selection committee to leave them out of the field for the 12th straight season.

Whether or not the Gamecocks would be in the field of 68 was thrown in doubt thanks to a poor strength of schedule (271) and bad losses during the regular season to Alabama (KenPom ranking of 86 at time of loss), Tennessee (89), Missouri (177), and Mississippi State (79). Those were on top of two regular season losses to Georgia and a third in the SEC Tournament. Although the Gamecocks held their own against RPI top 100 teams (8-5), Carolina ended the season with just a pair of games against Top 50 teams (Kentucky and Texas A&M, beating the Aggies while getting crushed by the Wildcats).

Curiously, Vanderbilt and Tulsa got in ahead of South Carolina. Also, Syracuse, a team not expected to get into the tournament, were put into the field.

An invitation to the NIT is likely for the Gamecocks and would equal their first postseason bid since their last trip in 2009. The Gamecocks have appeared in three NIT championship games, winning back to back times in 2005 and 2006 and losing to Memphis in the 2002 final.