It's going to be a busy weekend for Darius Rucker: After spending Friday (March 31) in Las Vegas, Nev., for pre-2017 ACM Awards interviews, the country star is in Phoenix, Ariz., for Saturday night's (April 1) NCAA semi-finals basketball game, during which his alma mater, the University of South Carolina, will play Gonzaga. Then, Rucker will head back to Sin City for Sunday night's (April 2) 2017 ACM Awards ceremony ... and, hopefully, be back in Phoenix on Monday (April 3) for a championship game featuring South Carolina's Gamecocks.

"That’s the plan, absolutely,” Rucker said during media interviews on Friday. “I hope it works out that way. That’ll make me real happy.”

Rucker became an internet sensation following the Gamecocks' Elite Eight win over the University of Florida Gators on March 26, which put the team in their first-ever Final Four tournament. Rucker -- who began his music career, with his band Hootie and the Blowfish, while at the University of South Carolina -- was at Madison Square Garden in New York City for the game and got pretty emotional following the team's victory.

"That was odd," Rucker admits. "That was really odd because, I don't know, I was just happy for the team, I was happy for the school, happy for my boy, happy for the coach, and I got a little overwhelmed, and it became this big news story. That was funny to me.”

Rucker is "real good friend[s]" with South Carolina's men's basketball coach Frank Martin and has been following the team closely -- so much so, in fact, that during a recent show, he had a feed of a game set up onstage.

“That was the first time we’ve ever done that,” Rucker notes, laughing. “But we couldn’t miss the game. We were playing Baylor, and we just couldn’t miss that ... We had to play a show, but we were gonna watch the game."

The University of South Carolina's game vs. Gonzaga will tip off at 6:09PM ET on Saturday night; CBS will broadcast the matchup. The 2017 ACM Awards, meanwhile, are set to air live on CBS beginning at 8PM ET, from T-Mobile Arena.

The Boot will be staying up late covering the most buzzed-about winners, fashion and moments at the 2017 ACM Awards. Readers can watch along with us by checking back to for the latest ACMs headlines, liking The Boot on Facebook and following The Boot on Twitter.

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