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NCAA Women's Tournament Bracket: South Carolina Gamecocks preview

A hungry South Carolina team seeks validation in the Big Dance.

Nelson Chenault-USA TODAY Sports

Who? The Lady Gamecocks of South Carolina.

When do they play in the first round? South Carolina will play Savannah State on Friday, March 20 at 5 p.m. ET.

What? They've been Gamecocks since the early 1900s. The current mascot is Cocky- with two mascot championships, it ain't bragging if you back it up.

Where? Columbia, South Carolina, home of the South Carolina State Museum.

Why? They won the Southeastern conference tournament.

How? South Carolina broke open a close game near the end of the first half and never looked back in their 62-46 win over Tennessee. Tiffany Mitchell put up 17 points and seven rebounds, and Aleighsa Welch added 14 points and eight boards. Jordan Reynolds was the only Lady Vol in double figures, with 17.

Surprise? Predicted to finish first in the conference, they were the SEC's regular season champions.

RPI: 3

SOS: 18

Record: 30-2 (15-1 Southeastern)

Good wins: Surviving at Duke. Syracuse in the Bahamas isn't bad either.

Bad losses: I guess technically at Kentucky?

Who's running this show? Dawn Staley, since 2008.

Extra, Extra! The State. This part of their site might require registration.

South Carolina, we need to have a talk about this stats-in-PDF format thing. I do not approve.

Junior guard Tiffany Mitchell spurs the Gamecocks with a team-high 14.4 points per game, but the strength of South Carolina is deep in the post. Senior forward Aleighsa Welch pulls down the boards at 6.4 per game, and then two of South Carolina's top three scorers come off the bench, sophomore center Alaina Coates (10.8 points, team-high 8.1 rebounds) and heralded freshman A'ja Wilson (13.3 points, 6.9 rebounds).

The minute distribution intrigues me- nobody over 30 minutes per game, nine players playing significant minutes. And once again, South Carolina has improved their free throw shooting!.. to 67.1%. It's a work in progress.