COLUMBUS, Ohio – The No. 3 Ohio State Buckeyes (1-0) play host to the No. 7 Florida Gators (1-0) tonight from Value City Arena. Trust me, amidst all the win No. 903 talk for Coach K, there are still other college basketball programs out there worthy of your interest. This will be a rematch of the 2007 National Championship game between the two teams. Florida came out victorious of course, 84-75, en route to their second of back-to-back titles.
No longer will viewers witness Joakim Noah and Al Horford for Florida or Mike Conley Jr. and Greg Oden for the Buckeyes. However, this is still a very interesting match-up of powerhouses from their respective conferences. The two teams met under similar circumstances last season, as Florida and Ohio State matched-up in both their second game of the year. Ohio State cruised to victory on the back of freshman Jared Sullinger. Playing in just his second collegiate basketball ever, the freshman posted 26 points and 10 boards on the way to a 93-75 Ohio State win. This years outcome at Ohio State may be similar to last years Buckeye rout if Florida can’t match OSU’s intensity early in the game.
Both teams won their respective conferences last season and have lost key components from their 2010 squad’s. Florida returns Kenny Boynton and Erving Walker. Freshman Bradley Beal is supposed to step into the fire immediately, scoring 14 points in his NCAA debut. Erik Murphy and Patric Young are going to try to contain Sullinger down low.
Ohio State returns Sullinger, who won dozens of Freshman of the Year awards in 2010, after scoring 17 ppg, while pulling down nine rebounds a night last season. Aaron Craft returns to the mix and the lone senior of the bunch is William Buford.
Ohio State’s Aaron Craft said it best in a press conference Monday night:
“I don’t think you can go throughout the country and name five or six great teams,” Craft said. “There are a lot of teams that have a lot of potential and a lot of upside. But at this point of the season there aren’t very many phenomenal teams that just stick out, you know? This is a good test for us.”
Either way, we are going to find out which team is legit and ready to go early in the 2011 season. Tonight is as good a night as any, with most of the nation concentrating on Duke and Michigan State.