Florida vs. South Carolina on CBS: 3 things to know, how to watch, time, line, preview

Here are our 3-pointers for Saturday's Florida-South Carolina game on CBS, brought to you by American Cancer Society / Coaches vs. Cancer .

When the AP Top 25 Poll came out on Dec. 4, the Florida Gators were sitting pretty: 5-1, ranked fifth in the nation, coming off a trip to the PK80 tournament in Portland where Mike White's team got an incredible double-overtime win over Gonzaga and took No. 1-ranked Duke to the brink in a one-possession loss.

That same night that Dec. 4 poll came out, the Gators got smoked at home in a loss to Florida State. Two nights later, they lost to Loyola Chicago at home. A week after that, a loss to Clemson. Two weeks after Florida was ranked fifth in the country, Florida was out of the AP Poll. The Gators have only cracked the AP Top 25 twice since then, peaking at 20th in mid-January.

And so Saturday's game at South Carolina finds the Gators at a place very different than two months before: Sitting right on the NCAA tournament bubble.

Here are three things you need to know about Saturday's Florida-South Carolina game:

  • Florida must make threes. Florida is an excellent 3-point shooting team – except for when they aren't. In the home loss to Florida State, Florida made 6 of 25 3-pointers (25 percent). In the home loss to Loyola Chicago, Florida made 2 of 19 3-pointers (10.5 percent). In the home loss to Alabama, Florida made 5 of 24 3-pointers (20.8 percent). In Florida's eight losses this season, the Gators have shot 29.5 percent on 3-pointers, which would rank 343rd in the nation. In Florida's 16 wins, the Gators have shot 40.3 percent on 3-pointers , which would rank 18th in the nation. It's a pretty simple formula: When Florida is making shots from deep, the Gators will usually win.

  • South Carolina is not nearly as stout defensively as its Final Four season a year ago. That's to be expected after losing so many players off that squad, notably Sindarius Thornwell and P.J. Dozier. A year ago, the Gamecocks had the nation's third-ranked defense, and opponents only shot 30.6 percent on 3-pointers against them, the 11th best rate in the nation. This season South Carolina has the nation's 40th-ranked defense and give up 3-pointers at a 34.8 percent rate, which ranks 166th in the country. But when South Carolina upset Florida on the road a couple weeks ago, it was because of 3-pointers shooting; the Gamecocks hit 11 of 21 3-pointers (52.4 percent) while Florida made only 6 of 23 (26.1 percent).

  • Florida needs this game in a very big way. Not to say that the super-intense Frank Martin won't treat this game like he does every game, in a do-or-die fashion. But South Carolina is coming off an improbable Final Four run and was not expected to do much this season. Martin is secure in his job, and this program will improve next season. Nobody expected this South Carolina team to be good. But Florida had big expectations on its shoulders this year as a preseason top-10 team that was returning a talented backcourt with upperclassmen Chris Chiozza and KeVaughn Allen. Florida hasn't been some massive disappointment; they are 7-4 in the SEC and in third place, only two games back of Auburn. But Florida ranks 37th in KenPom, and sits squarely on the bubble as a 10-seed in CBSSports.com bracketologist Jerry Palm's latest bracket. Lose this game and Florida could be on the outside looking in.

How to watch Florida at South Carolina

    Who: Florida (16-8, 7-4 SEC) at South Carolina (13-11, 4-7)
  • When: Saturday, 12 p.m. ET
  • Where: Colonial Life Arena in Columbia, South Carolina
  • TV: CBS
  • Streaming: CBSSports.com | CBS Sports App

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