Playing For Keeps

After the disaster that was the SEC Tournament, Carolina gets to stay home to begin the NCAA tournament.  The Gamecocks were rewarded for their strong season with a host site.  They were not given a national seed, in large part due to their Hoover performance.  But, at the end of the year, it’s not what happens in Hoover that matters; it’s what happens in the NCAA tournament.

South Carolina has lots to be thankful in their draw.  For the first time in several years Clemson is not in the regional or slated to be part of Carolina’s destiny.  I’d like to congratulate the selection committee on actually seeding a tournament properly, but it would be disingenuous of me to do so.

While USC didn’t have to face a rival in the regional or super-regional, a few other teams didn’t fare as well.  Louisville earned a host site and was given Kentucky as the 2-seed.  Florida and Miami are slated to meet in the super regionals if they both win, which is nice because those teams rarely see each other in the post season.  Texas and Texas A&M will play in the first round of the Rice regional, and Mississippi State and Ole Miss are slated to collide in the supers if they both advance.  It appears the idea of seeding a tournament based on merit is still not a consideration for the committee.

Who is coming to Columbia?  Campbell, Old Dominion and Maryland.  Campbell is the 4-seed and will play Carolina first.  Old Dominion is the 3-seed, leaving Maryland as the 2.  The Terps are playing good ball lately and could cause some trouble in the regional, but Old Dominion and Campbell aren’t the toughest 3 and 4 seeds in the tournament, which is nice for the Gamecocks.

Carolina plays at 7 on Friday, and whoever wins the tournament will play the winner of the Charlottesville regional.  Keep reading Leftover Hot Dog this week, and we’ll have everything you need to be ready for the regional.