South Carolina Basketball: 3 thumbs up, 3 thumbs down from SEC Tournament loss to Auburn

South Carolina basketball couldn't solve their "Auburn problem" again on Friday as the Tigers knocked off the Gamecocks 86-55 in the SEC Tournament.

South Carolina basketball point guard Ta'Lon Cooper
South Carolina basketball point guard Ta'Lon Cooper / Steve Roberts-USA TODAY Sports
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South Carolina basketball fans were hopeful that their team could perform better against Auburn on Friday in the SEC Tournament than they did back in February.

Technically, they did. After losing by 40 a month ago, the Gamecocks fell by 31 in Nashville.

The game was very similar to the first matchup. Seemingly, the only difference was that Meechie Johnson and Jaylin Williams didn't go off for 20+ points each. With the overall scoring dinged a little for those two players, Auburn won 86-55 and led by as much as 32 several times down the stretch.

The Gamecocks fell right into Auburn's desired pace of play, pushing the tempo on offense (something they never do) and taking quick, tough shots instead of moving the ball with good passing and smart screens.

Johni Broome led a balanced but lethal Auburn offense, and Broome and Dylan Cardwell were an impenetrable wall down low. The never-ending rotation of Tiger guards made life extremely difficult for Carolina's perimeter players, as well.

Josh Gray was the only player wearing garnet who shot better than 50% from the field, and despite 20 points from the free throw line, the offense scored their 2nd-lowest total of the season. They also gave up their 3rd-worst number of points of the year.

The good news for the Gamecocks, though, is that there is no doubt about their postseason future: South Carolina basketball will play in this year's NCAA Tournament. Selection Sunday is tomorrow, and the Gamecocks will learn what seed the committee feels they deserve and who their 1st round opponent should be. Based on most projections, USC likely will be a low-5 or a 6-seed.

533. South Carolina Basketball vs. Auburn Tigers. 86. 525. Final. 55