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's "Must Wins" for March Madness Berth
No. 4 Florida Gators

One of the hottest teams in America right now is Todd Golden's Florida Gators. Though they lost their last time out (an overtime thriller on the road against Alabama), UF has won 7 of 9 and has fallen in their two losses by just 6 combined points. They should stay hot before they play Carolina as they get two home games against Vanderbilt and Missouri leading up to the contest inside Colonial Life Arena.

The good news for the Gamecocks in this one is that the Gators are 7-7 away from the O Dome (combined road and neutral site games) this season. Their only 3 road wins on the year have come against teams USC has already beaten, as well.

The bad news is that the matchup isn't great for Carolina in this one. Florida is athletic and scores the ball at a high clip. In the Gamecocks' three games against SEC teams that score over 80 points per game, they are 1-2 and were outscored 237-187. Barring a vintage Meechie Johnson scoring effort to keep up or an elite defensive performance, it will be hard to score enough to beat the blue and orange.

Because of Florida's late-season surge, a loss at home to the Gators likely won't hurt the resume as much as road losses to Ole Miss or Texas A&M might. That, combined with the fact that this matchup has a chance to be a tough one for the slow offensive pace of the Gamecocks, means that South Carolina's game against Florida shouldn't be considered a "must win" even though it could be one that seals Lamont Paris' team in the NCAA Tournament.