COLUMBIA -- South Carolina's baseball team officially learned Sunday it will begin the NCAA tournament at home. But will it be in position to play host for a second weekend?
That's the question on the table today, when the seeds are announced -- including the top eight national seeds -- for the upcoming NCAA tournament.
National seeds receive homefield advantage for the first two rounds of the tourney, provided they survive the opening weekend.
"I really don't know," Gamecocks coach Ray Tanner said, when asked if his team is worthy of a national seed. "Seems like maybe there are four or five people fighting for three spots."
South Carolina at least knows now it will be one of 16 regional hosts. That's the first time that's happened since 2007. It's the first time 2-year-old Carolina Stadium will be a postseason site.
The Citadel did its job Sunday, winning the SoCon tournament as the top seed. The Bulldogs (42-20) will hit the road for the regional, possibly destined for Columbia.
Clemson (38-21) closed the season on a high note, but the Tigers, who went 1-2 in the ACC tournament, didn't do quite enough to host a regional. They will likely head to Myrtle Beach, where Coastal Carolina (51-7) was awarded a site.
The Tigers advanced from the Conway regional in 2007 before falling at Mississippi State in the super regionals.
With a 42-17 record and a relatively strong spot in the RPI (27th according to boydsworld.com), the College of Charleston will also be part of the field announced today. The Cougars could wind up in Myrtle Beach or Atlanta, with Columbia as an outside chance. They'll be wherever The Citadel doesn't land.
As for the Gamecocks, Tanner said compiling a 43-15 record -- including a 21-9 regular season mark in the SEC -- is "our positive side of the resume."
The negative? After winning its first seven SEC series, South Carolina dropped two of its final three series -- even if the last one came to league champ Florida.
Additionally, the Gamecocks forgot to bring their bats last week to the SEC tournament in Hoover, Ala.
They didn't score Wednesday against Mississippi and Drew Pomeranz, getting shut out for the first time in 154 games (dating back to 2008).
Thursday wasn't much better. South Carolina and Auburn were in a 1-1 tie until the 12th inning, when the Tigers broke through for a 3-1 victory that sent South Carolina home in a hurry.
Going 0-2 in Birmingham wasn't exactly the plan for the Gamecocks, who really needed a couple of wins to put themselves in good position for a national seed.
Arizona State, Virginia, Florida, Texas, Coastal Carolina, UCLA and Louisville are all but locked in for seven of the eight top seeds. That leaves one.
In addition to South Carolina, Auburn (40-19), Cal State-Fullerton (40-15) and Georgia Tech (45-13) are in the mix for that final spot.
Baseball America is projecting that the Yellow Jackets, despite a 1-2 run in the ACC tournament, will grab the No. 8 seed. Georgia Tech has a slightly higher spot in the RPI (10) than the Gamecocks (17) and the others mentioned above.
If the Gamecocks are just outside that top eight, it'll be interesting to see what national seed they're paired with -- meaning, where USC would potentially play its super regional.
Coastal Carolina and Georgia Tech would be the most logical choices, because of geography and relatively even matchups.
South Carolina hasn't hosted a super regional since 2004 -- also its last trip to the College World Series.