Which games are "must wins" for South Carolina basketball to secure March Madness invite?

Which games on South Carolina basketball's schedule are "must wins" for the Gamecocks to secure an invitation to the NCAA Tournament?

South Carolina basketball guard Jacobi Wright
South Carolina basketball guard Jacobi Wright / Jeff Blake-USA TODAY Sports
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South Carolina basketball has had a very nice season.

After an 11-21 season last year (tying the all-time program record for most losses in a season) and being picked to finish dead last in the SEC heading into the year, a 21-5 overall record and 9-4 mark in league play almost don't seem real. However, the Gamecocks were 21-3 just over a week ago, were ranked 11th in the country, and were considered a top-16 seed in the NCAA Tournament.

Now, after a tough week with two bad losses (a blowout at Auburn and a 16-point collapse at home against LSU), Lamont Paris' team is still firmly in the March Madness field as things stand today, but with 5 regular season games remaining, they cannot lose out and feel good about their postseason resume.

The Gamecocks have road games against Ole Miss and Texas A&M before returning home to face the Florida Gators and Tennessee Volunteers. The final game of the season is a revenge attempt for the Mississippi State Bulldogs in Starkville before the SEC Tournament begins in Nashville in March.

All six guaranteed remaining games (5 regular season and at least 1 in the SEC Tournament) have a chance to be Quad-1 games (and certainly would be Quad-2 if not), meaning each game is valuable in its own way down the stretch of the 2023-2024 season.

Now that they have slipped a little bit in the SEC standings, the CourtCocks must win a game or two to guarantee their spot in the Big Dance. Let's take a look at the six guaranteed games left on the schedule and rank them in terms of how "must win" they are heading into March.