South Carolina Basketball: Colonial Life Arena is sold out for biggest game in venue history

In what is surely the biggest men's game in Colonial Life Arena history, South Carolina basketball fans have sold out Colonial Life Arena for Wednesday night.

South Carolina basketball freshman Collin Murray-Boyles celebrating with fans after beating Kentucky earlier this season.
South Carolina basketball freshman Collin Murray-Boyles celebrating with fans after beating Kentucky earlier this season. / Jeff Blake-USA TODAY Sports
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South Carolina basketball fans might cause seismic activity in downtown Columbia tonight.

For the first time since they won the SEC back in the 1996-1997 season, the Gamecocks men's basketball team are in contention for 1st place in the league in the season's final week. The 24-5 (12-4) Gamecocks will welcome the 23-6 (13-3) Tennessee Volunteers to Colonial Life Arena for the penultimate game of the 2023-2024 regular season.

It is, without a doubt, the biggest men's home game in South Carolina basketball history since Colonial Life Arena opened ahead of the 2002 season. It should come as no surprise that the venue, despite being one of the biggest arenas in the country, is sold out for the game. It is the third official sell out of the year for Lamont Paris' squad, and it will be South Carolina's second ranked vs. ranked game in a row.

The stakes couldn't be much higher for the game (unless it was the season's final game). If Tennessee wins, they win at the SEC crown. If South Carolina wins, they win at least a share of the crown with a follow-up win over Mississippi State OR a Tennessee loss to red-hot Kentucky.

Lamont Paris has done a tremendous job to get the Gamecocks to this point. Voted as the SEC's worst team by the Southeastern Conference media in the preseason, South Carolina basketball has had the country's best turnaround. And with the lack of overall success in recent years (other than the magical 2016-2017 Final Four run), USC fans will be rabid tonight.

In what is also Senior Night for the Gamecocks, the garnet and black will need every bit of help they can get to knock off the Volunteers. Carolina beat UT earlier in the season in Knoxville, but Rick Barnes' group will be out for revenge as they fight for the SEC championship and a #1-seed in the NCAA Tournament.

The Gamecocks won't be a 1-seed when March Madness begins in a couple of weeks. However, if Carolina wants to lock up a 4-seed (or even move up to a 2 or 3), an SEC Championship will go a long way in the eyes of the NCAA Tournament selection committee.

The Gamecocks and Vols will tip off a t 7:00 PM EST. The game will be shown on ESPN2.

Next. South Carolina Basketball: Where the Gamecocks sit in current NCAA Tournament picture. South Carolina Basketball: Where the Gamecocks sit in current NCAA Tournament picture. dark