South carolina hoping to get a favor from the ncaa women’s basketball committee sports postandcourier.com eon replacement gas card

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“I think what we did was control our own destiny and then it’s in somebody else’s hands to decide where we go,” coach Dawn Staley said moments after winning her fourth consecutive SEC tournament. “Obviously we can’t do anything about it once it’s announced, besides win our tournament and see if that puts us in a great place where our fans can attend the games.”

Staley grumbled about the Stockton selection last year, saying it was mighty unfair to send the Gamecocks across the country two years in a row while Notre Dame got the top seed in Lexington each time. USC advanced to its first Final Four in 2015, when the regional was held in Greensboro, N.C.; despite winning SEC regular-season and tournament championships the next two seasons (and only having one loss in 2015-16), the Gamecocks weren’t given any breaks by the committee.

The NCAA’s rule on the matter has long been discussed and decried in Columbia. By the NCAA’s rules, a 350-mile radius is drawn from the regional site in each direction. The top seeds within that circle are given precedence because it’s considered a drive and not a flight.

Notre Dame is closer to Lexington than Columbia is, although the difference is less than 50 miles. But by the NCAA’s logic, that means USC fans would have to fly, and if the Gamecocks had to board a plane anyway, they may as well board for a lengthy flight — such as to South Dakota or California.

Staley sounded off about it last year, saying it was time to reverse that trend and give USC (and its fans, which led the country in attendance for a fourth straight year this season) an easier distance to travel. Considering regional attendance was significantly down across the four sites last year, perhaps the committee keeps an eye on that when it’s placing teams this year.

Baylor and Mississippi State each only have one loss. It seems natural for Baylor to stay close to home and be put in Kansas City, but the committee also has to decide who’s the other No. 1 team. Louisville and Notre Dame each deserve that spot, and Louisville beat Notre Dame twice this year, so it makes sense to put the Cardinals in Lexington, an hour away from campus.

Here’s where it gets tricky. Mississippi State seems to be holding the bag just like USC did last year, clearly earning a No. 1 seed but nowhere to go but far away. The Bulldogs could be put in Spokane because there’s nowhere else to put them.

For the Gamecocks, though, that means a No. 2 spot in either Spokane, Albany or Kansas City. ESPN bracketologist Charlie Creme is adamant that USC will be sent to Albany (meaning the Gamecocks would probably have to go through UConn to reach the Final Four) but it’s important to note that bracketologists are paid to predict the teams that get into the tournament, not where they’re placed.

The Gamecocks, on a roll after winning the SEC tournament one more time, are confident they can survive anywhere they’re sent. “Throughout the season we had a bunch of doubters, people were not even expecting us to make it past Tennessee in this tournament,” A’ja Wilson said. “So for us to come out and do what we did, I think it builds our confidence up and it shows people, yes, we’re going to have a target on our back, but at the same time we can handle things like this, we can handle adversity and that’s who we are, that’s our system.”