Heading West: No. 1 seed Gamecocks top Stockton Regional

COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) – South Carolina is traveling West for the NCAA Tournament – again.

The Gamecocks earned their fourth straight No. 1 seed, heading up the Stockton, California, regional in the brackets announced Monday night.

South Carolina (27-4) opens play Friday against 16th-seeded UNC Asheville (19-14), the Big South Conference Tournament champion.

It’s the second time in that stretch that top-seeded South Carolina was sent out of its comfy Eastern Time Zone. The Gamecocks lost in the round of 16 to North Carolina in Stanford. Last year, it was Syracuse who ended South Carolina’s run in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, also in the round of 16.

The only time the four-time Southeastern Conference champions advanced to the Final Four was when they headed up a regional in Greensboro, North Carolina, in 2015.