Florida Makes it Back to Back National Championships in College Basketball - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Jarvis Greer

Florida Makes it Back to Back National Championships in College Basketball

Florida 84, Ohio State 75

ATLANTA (AP) - A long, tough season ended with a Gator chomp

again.

Mission accomplished for Florida.

The Gators were too much to handle once again Monday night,

keeping their stranglehold on the college basketball world with an

84-75 victory over Ohio State for their second straight national

championship.

Al Horford had 18 points and 12 rebounds, Taurean Green had 16

and Greg Oden's 25 points and 12 rebounds weren't enough to stop

the Gators (35-5) from completing the quest they set upon when all

the starters delayed their NBA plans for a try at another title.

They celebrated with the usual Gator chomps and took a chomp out

of NCAA history, too - becoming the first team to repeat since Duke

in 1991-92 and adding their name to the debate about the best teams

of all time.

Best athletic programs of all time, too.

This win completes a 2007 championship-game sweep of the

Buckeyes (35-4) in college's two biggest sports - men's hoops and

football. Florida, a 41-14 winner in the football title game in

January, remains the only program in history to hold both

championships at the same time.

The celebration looked much the same as last year. Lots of

jersey tugging, jumping onto press row and Joakim Noah running into

the stands to hug it out with loved ones.

Billy Donovan added another gold star to his resume, and figures

to be making more than his current $1.7 million next season,

whether he returns to Florida or bolts for a possible job offer at

Kentucky.

Even with the same starting five as last year, this was more

than just rolling the ball out there.

All season - including in the 86-60 victory over Ohio State in

December - the Gators have morphed into whatever kind of team they

needed to be to win.

In this one, stopping Oden figured to be the key, but really it

was more complex than that. The 7-foot freshman, who may be

one-year-and-done with the NBA looming, stayed out of foul trouble

and played most of the game - just what the Buckeyes figured they

needed to have a chance.

Florida's focus, however, was more on stopping the rest of the

team. Oden drew mostly single coverage when the ball went into the

post. Donovan played a lot of zone and mixed his big men in and

out, adding 6-10 Marreese Speights to the mix to give him five more

fouls to play with.

That strategy worked well enough - well enough to win at least.

Ohio State couldn't take advantage of any other matchups,

especially on the perimeter. Ivan Harris was the only Buckeye to

make a 3-pointer over the first 39-plus minutes of the game, and he

finished 2-for-8.

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