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. 3 SEC Tournament 1st Round

South Carolina basketball likely will be playing a significant game in their first matchup in Nashville's SEC Tournament. If the Gamecocks go 1-4 or 0-5 down the stretch of the regular season, USC will be floating in the middle of the pack in the conference and could need a win or two to ensure a postseason bid. If they perform well to finish the regular season, important seeding decisions could be made by the NCAA Tournament Selection Committee based on what happens in Nashville.

Because it isn't known yet where the Gamecocks will be seeded for the SEC Tournament (realistically, they could finish anywhere from 2nd to 8th; mathematically, they can finish anywhere from 1st to 11th), it is impossible to project what this game could look like.

However, what is clear to project is this: if the Gamecocks are not a top-5 team in the conference, they will need a win to feel good about their postseason chances. Getting up to 24 wins likely will put the Gamecocks into the field of 68 no matter what, and 23 wins likely would get the job done, as well.

South Carolina basketball fans hope that the first SEC Tournament game will be more a matter of seeding than a resume-builder, but it could easily become a "must win" contest for the Gamecocks, especially if they limp into the SEC Tourney as it is the committee's final chance to see Coach Paris' squad.