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. 1 @ Ole Miss Rebels

South Carolina basketball will travel to Oxford to take on the Ole Miss Rebels this Saturday. While the game is not literally a "must win" (the team will have 4 more regular season games and at least one in the SEC Tournament remaining), it should still be considered a "must win" by Gamecock fans.

Ole Miss is one of the two worst teams on the remaining schedule (along with Texas A&M), and they've lost 4 of their last 5 games, including a defeat against the Gamecocks. The Rebs' only win during that span was a one-possession home win over winless Missouri.

Chris Beard has led his team to a 14-1 home record, but they've played the softest schedule (especially at home) in the SEC. Their only "good wins" at the Pavilion came against Florida and Mississippi State back in January.

What makes this game the most "must win" game left on the schedule is the fact that it is the next game. Carolina has lost two games in a row for the first time all season, and they haven't looked good doing it. Playing against a team that sits in a lower position than them in the current NCAA Tournament hierarchy, Lamont Paris' team cannot afford to lose again and potentially lose confidence heading into what would become a "must win" against Texas A&M in the next game.

Ole Miss is on the bubble right now, but based on their strength of schedule and projected finish in the league, they could fall out of the March Madness picture. A loss to a team that is also losing favor with the media would do no favors to the Gamecocks' postseason hopes. The Rebels-Gamecocks matchup should be considered a "must win" this Saturday.

Next. South Carolina Basketball: Where the Gamecocks stand in latest Bracketology. South Carolina Basketball: Where the Gamecocks stand in latest Bracketology. dark