Tonight is the night. It’s not football season; it’s basketball season and Florida and Ohio State are battling again for a national championship. I am fairly certain that two schools have never played one another for the national championship in football and basketball in the same season. The athletic directors and boosters at these two institutions are at the pinnacle. (Sad consolation for Michigan alums or FSU Seminole fans – that would be me.)
When Ohio State traveled down to Gainesville this year to play Florida, many folks thought the game was a prelude to the national championship. Florida won handily. I suspect they’ll do the same thing again. Ohio State’s team has a great deal of mental toughness and character on the court. (Damn, did I just write that!?!) They played extensively without 7-foot center Greg Oden. They overcame adversity within this tournament to beat Xavier. They even battled a tough Georgetown team and limited a passive Jeff Green to all of 5 shots. Oden stood tall against Hibbert – and probably learned a few things in his first matchup against a taller player.
It won’t be enough. I really like OSU’s team, but Florida is a superior team at roughly every position on the court. I like Florida’s energy, speed, length, depth, and will to win a second championship.
The Gators worked all season for this moment. It’s here. It’s time.
Florida 89, Ohio State 71.
P.S. If Billy Donovan’s Gators lose this game (especially in a rout), will he look considerably less attractive in the Bluegrass State? That couldn’t happen – could it?