COLUMBIA, S.C. — University of South Carolina students were excited Monday about the men’s basketball team’s upcoming NCAA tournament game in Greenville Friday. “It’s awesome, especially after last year we came so close and couldn’t quite make it to the tournament,” says USC junior Davis Hagood.
Last year, the Gamecocks thought they would make the NCAA tournament field because they’d won 25 games, but they were not chosen. “It made me so angry that we got 25 wins and didn’t make it. It was one of the worst things ever, and this year we didn’t even get that many but we’re still in the tournament and we got a good seed,” says Jacob Day, a freshman from Greenville. He’s also excited that they’re playing so close to home. He and his friends are trying to get tickets.
That’ll be hard to do. Charles Bloom, executive associate athletics director for USC, says, “We have an allotment of 450 tickets for the first round. In this allotment, tickets go to players, coaches and staff families, university administration and students. The face value for the tickets are $76.00 each. The Greenville site is only one of two NCAA first-round sites (Kansas City being the other) posting sell-outs as of this afternoon.”
USC plays Marquette at 9:50 Friday night. USC is the 7th seed in the East regional. If the Gamecocks win, they’ll play the winner of Duke and Troy.
USC junior Jalena James says, “It’s a great thing not only for them but also for our campus and our community, because it’s very exciting to see them do such a great thing.”
USC hasn’t been to the NCAA tournament since 2004. It hasn’t won an NCAA regular tournament game since 1973. USC freshman Frank Halloran says, “Everybody is excited. You know, it’s been 13 years, like we said, since this has happened. I’ve got a bunch of friends who are going. We’re all hyped up to see how they do. We’re going to keep following them even if we can’t go ourselves.”