First order of business: Can anything be learned from the meeting on December 23rd (HD box), a 26-point Florida win?
Yes and no. Oden wasn’t Oden yet, and the runaway margin likely wouldn’t have happened in Columbus. Still, there are some basic concepts to keep in mind.
For starters, if Ohio State shoots 40% on 2-point shots, forget about it. Second, if Ohio State shoots 30% on 3’s, that’s a problem. If both happen, the second half will get to garbage time fairly quickly.
Likewise, on the opposite side, if Florida shoots 64% from 2 or 50% from 3, we’ve got a blowout. You knew all of that, though.
If there’s one stat I’ll be watching closely tonight, it’s Florida’s 2-point percentage. They have owned the paint all season, did so in the first meeting, and lead the nation in 2-point accuracy at 59.1%. Clearly a lot of that has to do with the quality of shots by Noah and Horford, but not a single player in Florida’s top seven shoots below 50% inside the arc. However, Ohio State has been dominant inside defensively, with Georgetown being the first team to shoot better than 50% on 2’s in the Buckeyes’ last 17 games.
As we saw early in the UCLA game, Florida is sometimes content to take 3’s. If it’s Humphrey and Green taking most of those 3’s, as it usually is, and if many of those shots are not contested well, then Florida’s offense will be alright. They’re the #2 offensive team nationally in terms of adjusted efficiency for a reason – they have multiple options.
But Ohio State just stymied the #1 offense in Georgetown, although a Jeff Green no-show and Roy Hibbert foul trouble had much to do with that. From a Buckeye perspective, it’s important that Greg Oden plays 30 minutes and is able to do so while being aggressive. I would guess Othello Hunter would be on the court more than usual, and if he plays for 25 minutes, he needs to do a good Oden impression for about 15 of those minutes. With those minutes for each player, Ohio State will haves the personnel to defend the paint and not leave Humphrey and Green alone too often.
It needs to be noted that Florida draws fouls better than Georgetown, so Oden and Hunter don’t figure to avoid the whistle. But if they both do, we may have ourselves a game.
Finally, I’ll be away from a computer for the next couple days, so you won’t see a site update on Tuesday. I’ll tie up some loose ends later in the week.