Gamecocks end 13-year NCAA absence, to open against Marquette in Greenville

Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

The Gamecocks are back in the bracket for the first time since 2004 and will play in the East Region on Thursday at the Bon Secours Wellness Arena.

Marquette was on the proverbial bubble after losing to Seton Hall in the Big East tournament, but a strong finish to the regular season (winning four out its last five games) and some big wins during the year - including over then-No.

Atlantic Coast Conference tournament champions Duke visited the Upstate when Greenville last hosted the NCAA Tournament in 2002. The victor of that game will advance to the second round for a game against either #2 Duke or #15 Troy.

Villanova (East), Kansas (Midwest) and Gonzaga (West) are the other No. 1 seeds in the tournament, while the ACC leads all conferences with nine teams among the 68 selected.

However, North Carolina very well could draw one of those 16 seeds forced to win a play-in game to join the rest of the field in Greenville.




The Golden Eagles will head to Greenville to play SC in the first round.

Duke is also potentially in the mix.

The No.1 seed North Carolina Tar Heels will play No. 16 Texas Southern in one game.

The Tar Heels return to the upstate for the second time this season.

Fresh off grinding out wins over Alabama State, Grambling State and Alcorn State to win their third tournament championship in four years, the Tigers are seeking their first NCAA tournament win in seven tries. In Brooklyn, however, Duke played the best basketball and beat UNC.

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