(USC SID)COLUMBIA, S.C. - South Carolina (24-7) earned a No. 4 seed in its 10th berth in the NCAA Tournament and will face Summit League champion, 13th-seeded South Dakota State (25-7) on Saturday, March 23, at 4:10 p.m. ET, with the contest set to be televised on ESPN2 at the Boulder, Colo., site in the event's opening round. The Gamecocks are in the Norfolk Region. Host, and fifth-seeded Colorado and No. 12 seed Kansas will square off in the other game at the site with the winners meeting on Monday, March 25, with the time for that contest to be announced. South Carolina owns a 10-9 record all-time in the NCAA Tournament.
The meeting between the Gamecocks and South Dakota State on Saturday will be the first all-time between the two schools.
Fans can purchase tickets beginning Tuesday online at GamecocksOnline.com/Tickets, by phone through the South Carolina Athletics Ticket Office at 803-777-4274 or in person at the South Carolina Athletics Ticket Office at Colonial Life Arena. All tickets will be sold on a first-come, first-served basis and must be picked up at the NCAA Tournament game site by the purchaser.
This is the second-consecutive season the Gamecocks will participate in the NCAA Tournament and the fourth since joining the Southeastern Conference in 1991-92. South Carolina reached the Sweet 16 last season for the program's best finish since the 2001-02 team advanced to the Elite Eight. The Gamecocks have played in four Sweet 16s in their previous nine appearances in the event.
This season, South Carolina is 24-7 entering the NCAA Tournament, including a school-record 11 SEC regular-season wins. Currently ranked No. 17 in the AP Poll and No. 15 in the USA Today Coaches Poll, the Gamecocks have been as high as 14th in the AP and were twice rated 14th by the nation's coaches. It marks the program's highest ranking since January 2003. Senior guard Ieasia Walker earned SEC Defensive Player of the Year honors from the league's coaches, the first such honor for a Gamecock in the SEC. In addition to Walker on the All-SEC First Team, the league coaches added senior forward Ashley Bruner and sophomore forward Aleighsa Welch to the All-SEC Second Team and guard Tiffany Mitchell to the SEC All-Freshman Team.