Breaking News
More () »

Who will USC face in the first round of the women's tournament?

USC will start their pursuit of a title this Friday in Columbia.

COLUMBIA, S.C. — The South Carolina Gamecocks women's basketball team will be the number one overall seed in the NCAA tournament as they seek their second national title in program history. 

The team learned the news Sunday at a fan fest event at the Colonial Life Arena in Columbia, where they watched the ESPN selection show on a large monitor. It was the first selection show event with players and fans since 2019, with the pandemic wiping out the last two events in 2020 and 2021. 

They'll play either Howard University or Incarnate Word on Friday in the first round. Those two teams will have a play-in game on Wednesday to see who gets to take on the Gamecocks. 

NC State, Stanford, and Louisville are the other number one seeds. 

USC will host the first two rounds of games in Columbia. If they win those, their Sweet 16 and Elite 8 games would be in Greensboro, North Carolina, and if they get past that hurdle, the Final Four awaits them in Minneapolis, Minnesota. 

USC (29-2) enters the March Madness tournament as the favorite, having been ranked number one all season long. They had just two losses: an upset in the regular season to Vanderbilt and getting edged out by Kentucky in the SEC Championship game a week ago.

Despite that most recent setback, USC is still the betting pick to capture a title for the first time since they won their first ever in 2017.  Their 11 wins over ranked opponents leads the nation, and the Gamecocks are just the second SEC team in league history to win its first 11 games against ranked teams. South Carolina has been ranked No. 1 in both national polls every week this season.

The team will be guided, of course, by USC Head Coach Dawn Staley, who's a semifinalist for National Coach of the Year.  

For the Gamecocks, this will be a chance to fulfill the promise of some amazing recruiting classes. Two years ago, the Gamecocks were the favorites to win it all before the COVID-19 pandemic caused the NCAA Tournament to be cancelled. Last year, they made it to the Final Four but lost in the semifinal game in the final seconds to eventual national champion Stanford. 

Before You Leave, Check This Out