GAINESVILLE FL - NOVEMBER 16: Forward Jared Sullinger #0 of the Ohio State Buckeyes yells after a dunk against the Florida Gators November 16 2010 at the Stephen C. O'Connell Center in Gainesville Florida. (Photo by Al Messerschmidt/Getty Images)
The Ohio State Buckeyes and Florida Gators are the highlight of ESPN's Hoops Marathon
In a lot of ways, everything that is wrong in college football is magnified in college basketball. They do it the right way. A great example is tonight's showdown between No. 3 Ohio St. and No. 7 Florida. Top ten teams rarely play each other - voluntarily - in college football. It happens multiple times every season in college basketball and the players wouldn't have it any other way.
"I love playing a game like this," Buckeyes preseason All-American Jared Sullinger said about the Tuesday night showdown. "They have a team that comes in and they like to transition and they like to shoot 3s, they like to score. And they're also physical down low. This really determines what type of a team we are. Are we strong enough to handle the transition 3s back to back and then come down and score? Or are we just going to crumble?"
Tonight's game is a rematch of sorts for the Buckeyes and Gators. The two teams played in November 2010 as well, with the Buckeyes beating the Gators 93-75 in Gainesville.
"Even though they beat us handily at our place last year, I still felt coming out of that game a lot of things, for us, got exposed that we had to address and get better at. It ultimately ended up being a good game for us," Gators coach Billy Donovan said.
The two teams met in the 2006 National Championship game as well with Florida getting the best of Thad Matta's Buckeyes. That meeting, as well as the 2010 contest, have forged a friendship between the two coaches.
"He's one of the good guys," Matta said of Donovan. "We bounce things off of each other through the course of the season. We always laugh because we like to get together and talk basketball, but when we're playing each other we don't want to divulge any secrets."
On the court both teams have started their season with wins. Florida beat Jackson State in their opening game while the Buckeyes beat Wright State.