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Game preview: Gamecock men close regular season at Vanderbilt

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Once again, another must-win for tournament consideration.

Jeff Blake-USA TODAY Sports

South Carolina (18-12, 10-7 SEC) at Vanderbilt (10-20, 2-15)

Start time: 12:30 p.m.

TV: SEC Network

Radio: 107.5 The Game

Last game

South Carolina got a win it absolutely had to have, splitting the season series with fellow NCAA Tournament bubble competitor Mississippi State with an 83-71 win on Senior Night. Fittingly, Maik Kotsar was the star of the show, posting a team-high 20 points as the Gamecocks locked up their fourth winning conference season in the past five years. Keyshawn Bryant and A.J. Lawson stood out as well with 12 points, while Jermaine Couisnard, Alanzo Frink, and Jair Bolden scored eight each.

What to watch for

The Gamecocks routed the Commodores the last time these teams met, coming away with a 90-64 victory on Jan. 25. Vanderbilt’s fortunes have not improved much since then, although it did notch a win over Alabama earlier this week and also got its first SEC road victory since 2018 against LSU last month. Saben Lee leads Vandy with 18.2 points per game, averaging 20 ppg in SEC play; last time out, he was VU’s leading scorer with 17 points against the Gamecocks. Fun fact: Scottie Pippen’s son, Scottie Pippen Jr., plays for the ‘Dores, averaging 11.8 points per game in conference play. In any event, if the Gamecocks want to end the season on a high note and continue to keep their chances at the Tournament alive, this is absolutely not a game they can afford to drop.