Gators/Buckeyes Face Off in Rematch

With the Gator football team breaking for the holidays before they head to Orlando for the Capital One Bowl, the basketball team owns the spotlight this weekend as they head up to Columbus, Ohio for a December rematch of last year's national championship game.

Both teams have lost a considerable amount of talent from last year's squad, and like the Gators, the Buckeyes (7-3) have had a bit of a topsy-turvy season. The Buckeyes' three losses have come at the hands of ranked teams (North Carolina, Butler and Texas A&M), but they really don't have a quality win on their schedule aside from beating then No. 21 ranked Syracuse in the semifinals of the preseason NIT.

Ohio State relies on a balanced group of upper and underclassmen, so unlike the Gators who are rebuilding from scratch, the Buckeyes still have a lot of pieces left from their NCAA runner-up squad of a year ago.

"They really don't have a drop in the low post at all," Gators' head coach Billy Donovan said. "Greg Oden was a special player. Maybe one of the few kids who was dubbed in his sophomore year in high school as the No. 1 draft pick. He was just special in terms of the whole game of college basketball. But they have four legitimate frontcourt guys, so I don't think they've dropped off. They have some freshmen, that like us, are probably feeling their way through, but we rely on our young guys maybe a little more than they do."

Forward Othello Hunter and guard Jamar Butler are both seniors and put up solid numbers for Ohio State. Their leading scorer, however, is freshman center Kosta Koufos who stands at seven feet tall. Controlling the paint will be vital for the Gators on Saturday afternoon.

"I've got a concern with every game we go into with the low post because we don't have great numbers and we don't have great length," Donovan said. "We don't have great physical size. I would say that Ohio State has those three elements. The have strength, length and size. We're going to have to find a way to help each other out. We're going to have to find a way to rebound the ball, and we're going to have to find a way to play great post defense."

Tip-off is set for 4 p.m.

Questions or comments? Contact FightinGators.com's Chris Chmielenski

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