Florida gets the edge in the title game breakdown
Posted: Monday April 2, 2007 12:16PM; Updated: Monday April 2, 2007 2:05PM
Florida (34-5) vs. Ohio State (35-3)
Florida is trying to make history as it attempts to repeat as national champion for the first time since Duke in 1991 and '92. The Gators are deep, talented and don't have many weaknesses. Ohio State is young, but has tremendous talent in freshmen Greg Oden and Mike Conley Jr. The duo, along with veterans Ron Lewis and Jamar Butler, have helped the Buckeyes win 22 consecutive games. These schools met in December -- and also in the football national championship -- but this game should be much closer than the Gators' 26-point victory in Gainesville.
Florida's Taurean Green
Green will have his work cut out for him against the quicker and more explosive Mike Conley Jr. When Green is under control, and hitting from the outside, Florida is tough to beat. But he's been shaky at times in the NCAA tournament and had four turnovers and just three assists in the semifinal win over UCLA.Green had a terrific game against Ohio State in December, scoring 24 points on 9-of-12 shooting. He'll need that type of performance this time around.
Ohio State's Mike Conley Jr.
Even with the presence of Oden, Conley has often been the best player on the floor in the NCAA tournament. His ability to push the ball in transition and break down the defense by getting into the lane opens up the Buckeyes' offense. He's playing at an extremely high level, and if the Gators are going to repeat as national champions, they must stop Conley.
EDGE: OHIO STATE
Florida's Lee Humphrey
There's something about the NCAA tournament that brings out the best in Humphrey. With four three-pointers against UCLA, Humphrey became the tournament's all-time leader with 43. He's a marksman. When he gets into a rhythm, look out. Ohio State must stay on him at all times or he will change the game in an instant.
Ohio State's Jamar Butler
Steady and solid, Butler is the ultimate glue guy. A very good shooter, decent ball handler and strong around the basket, Butler helps the Buckeyes in a lot of ways. He doesn't possess blazing speed, but he's strong and is a good defender. He'll have to stay on Humphrey and fight through screens. On offense, he'll have to be aggressive without forcing things.
Florida's Corey Brewer
If Brewer is hitting from the outside -- as he did against UCLA by drilling 4-of-5 three-pointers -- opponents are in trouble. He's Florida's best all-around player, a long and athletic slasher who is very difficult to guard one-on-one. Brewer is also a very good defender and is able to shut down quicker players with his length. The Gators need one more good game from him.
1 of 2