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Florida vs. South Carolina, Game Thread: Gators will try to knock off Gamecocks

Another road game, another likely rock fight.

Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

Did you enjoy the offensive stylings — offensive has multiple meanings — of Florida's 57-53 win over Georgia earlier this week? Great! You're probably going to adore what you see on the court when the Gators face South Carolina (noon, SEC Network or WatchESPN) in Columbia.

The rest of us may cover our eyes.

It's not that there won't be points. South Carolina is No. 47 nationally in tempo, and Florida loves to play fast on offense. If the Gators can make shots, this shouldn't be a particularly low-scoring affair.

But that's a massive if, as we well know, especially on the road. The Gators have scored under a point per possession over their last three road games, and failed to score than 61 total points in those contests. The Gamecocks have a better defense than they do an offense, and though it's not on par with the Georgia, Kentucky, and Vanderbilt defenses that shut Florida down over those three roadies, it's also far from the iffy Mississippi defense that the Gators aerated in Oxford.

Florida should be able to do a fairly good job of stopping the Gamecocks if it can defend without fouling and protect the glass. South Carolina is second nationally in free throws per field goal attempt, with starters Michael Carrera and Sindarius Thornwell often parading to the line and reserves Chris Silva and Marcus Stroman both having taken more free throws than field goals this season, and 10th in offensive rebounding rate. And Florida has struggled to prevent offensive rebounds: 12 teams have nabbed more than a third of their misses against the Gators, though West Virginia did so to no avail.

For the Gators, though, this is a chance to really and truly establish themselves as an NCAA Tournament team. A win on this day would likely enable Florida to go 2-2 over its final four regular-season games, win only a single SEC Tournament game, and breathe pretty easy on Selection Sunday.

Here's hoping they get it.