Before we get started, if you haven’t already, please be sure to check out the Wrestlemania Round Table featuring yours truly. Thanks to Iain Burnside for letting me contribute and for also letting me know that I apparently write for the DVD Lounge. You learn something new everyday I suppose.
As if the beatings Ohio State took in football and earlier this season in basketball weren’t enough, the Buckeyes are back for more this Monday night when they take on the Florida Gators for college basketball’s National Championship. Both teams played relatively unexciting games on Saturday night so hopefully they are saving their best for last. Without further delay, let’s get to the head-to-head match-ups.
Mike Conley Jr. (Ohio State) vs. Taurean Green (Florida): There isn’t much debate here as Conley has been arguably the best point guard in America this season. Conley is extremely careful with the basketball and keeps his turnovers to a minimum while Green tends to get a little careless when the rock is in his hands. Conley is also far more likely to get his teammates involved as opposed to Green who tends to settle for way too many bad shots from the outside. The one thing that Green does have in his favor is that he seems to step his game up when it counts and this one certainly counts.
Advantage- Ohio State
Ron Lewis (Ohio State) vs. Lee Humphrey (Florida): Lewis and Humphrey make for a great battle between two senior guards who can absolutely shoot it from the outside. Their numbers are nearly identical across the board except for the fact that Lewis is a little bit better on the boards. Humphrey gets the nod though as he is a little bit better of a shooter and is also terrific at playing on-the-ball defense.
Jamal Butler (Ohio State) vs. Corey Brewer (Florida): Truth be told, Butler probably should be in the Shooting Guard slot instead of Lewis but the two are fairly interchangeable in either role and Lewis was far too similar to Humphrey to pass up the comparison. Much like Conley vs. Green, this one is a no doubter. Brewer is an outstanding defender who can at times look drunk while dribbling the basketball but has no issue putting the ball in the basket. Butler is more of a role-player who contributes a little bit of everything but doesn’t do a lot of anything. Whether Lewis or Butler is on Brewer it should not matter because he will have quite the size advantage on both players.
Ivan Harris (Ohio State) vs. Joakim Noah (Florida): Harris is more of a starter in name in that he tends to split a lot of his minutes with Othello Hunter and Matt Terwilliger. Say what you will about Noah’s lack of a true NBA game but none of that matters as there are not many big men in the college game capable of doing the things he does. The thing about Noah is that even if he is shut down by the Ohio State bigs, there is a good chance someone else on the team will step it up a notch. Nonetheless, no matter who is matched up on Noah he will still have the advantage in every facet of the game.
Greg Oden (Ohio State) vs. Al Horford (Florida): Strength meets muscle here and it should make for a tremendous battle down low. Oden has had an extremely hard time staying out of foul trouble all tournament long and Horford being the savvy veteran that he is, should be able to get a few called on Oden early. Oden may project as the better NBA player but in the here and now, Horford is much further along on the development scale.
Daequan Cook, Othello Hunter, David Lighty and Matt Terwilliger (Ohio State) vs. Chris Richard and Walter Hodge (Florida): Ohio State has a much deeper bench in terms of numbers but perhaps no player is a bigger x-factor than Chris Richard. Richard had an outstanding game off the bench against UCLA and is going to have a lot expected of him in terms of shutting down Greg Oden. Walter Hodge isn’t the most consistent player in the world but he is anything but a liability on the floor. Daequan Cook was one of my favorite players in America heading into the season but has certainly looked the part of a freshman at times. Cook should contribute but it’s vital that he keep his turnovers at a minimum. David Lighty may be a freshman but he has a knack for playing with senior-like confidence when it matters. Hunter and Terwilliger, as I mentioned earlier, are more big bodies off the bench than they are major contributors. They should have their hands full trying to stop the triple headed monster of Florida in Noah, Horford and Richard.
Thad Matta (Ohio State) vs. Billy Donovan (Florida): Matta may be one of the best recruiters in America but his coaching certainly leaves a little bit to be desired at times. His X’s and O’s are a bit puzzling at times and he really doesn’t draw up as many plays for Oden as he should. Donovan is no slouch at recruiting himself but certainly grades better than Matta in terms of in-game strategy. Like any head coach, Donovan certainly leaves me scratching my head at times but more often than not he provides a well-coached game.
Ohio State vs. Florida (-4.5): For Ohio State to have any chance of dethroning the Gators, they must pray that Greg Oden can find a way to keep himself out of foul trouble. Aside from the point guard position, Ohio State really doesn’t match up all that well with Florida but by no means are they that deficient in any category that they should get blown out of the building. Perhaps no team in recent memory, in any sport, does a better job than Florida of stepping up when it matters and with this being the likely last hurrah for the â€œ’04’s,â€ I expect them to bring their A game.
Florida 77 â€“ Ohio State 70
Well, that’s all for today folks. Be sure to enjoy the game and at the risk of sounding extremely unprofessional, go Gators!