Sam Ryan interviews Thad Matta outside the OSU locker room. I don’t have anything interesting to add here, except that Sam got a raw deal with her #10 seed in the “Would You Do?” tournament over at The Big Picture. Furthermore, I have no idea how she lost to Rachel Nichols.

I can only assume that Billy Packer will be on strike tonight since no ACC teams are involved.

The game begins…after the jump!

If you’re an underdog, the last thing you want is to come out shooting 1-for-12 in a big game. Not a problem for Ohio State, as they’ve taken a 9-7 lead on 3-for-6 shooting. Conley (4), Ivan Harris (3) and Oden (2) are all on the board for the Buckeyes, and Oden hasn’t fouled anyone yet. All positive signs. Brewer, Green, and Humphrey have scored for Florida.

15:11, first half. Ohio State 9, Florida 7.

I’d be lying if I said this was a particularly clean game. Not that there are a lot of dirty fouls or anything — it’s just a bit sloppy and disjointed right now. Corey Brewer just went down in a heap underneath the Florida basket, apparently after being on the business end of a Greg Oden hip check (in junior high, a friend of mine labeled that move “The Flying Rectum”). Meanwhile, Mike Conley picks up his second foul for Ohio State, and I’m not sure Thad Motta can really afford to sit Conley down for an extended period of time. Jamar Butler takes Conley’s place, immediately turns the ball over, and commits a foul on a Walter Hodge layup. Hmm.

10:52, first half. Florida 17, Ohio State 13.

I have to admit, I really likd Joakim Noah’s game. Even when he’s not scoring (or even getting opportunities to score) he really works his ass off for rebounds and is more than happy to make an extra pass.

Back to the action, Oden obliterates a Corey Brewer layup chance, but the Buckeyes fail to capitalize as Butler misses another three pointer. Brewer gets payback on the other end with a three, Oden responds with a dunk, and the severely underrated Chris Richard forced Oden into picking up his first foul. It’s a six point lead for Florida as Conley gets backinot the game. Billy Packer correctly notes that Oden looks exhausted. Oden finally gets a rest — let’s see if Ohio State can hit some outside shots. If they don’t, Florida might pull away sooner than later.

7:59, first half. Florida 21, Ohio State 15.

Florida certainly isn’t playing their best basketball, but they’re working hard on defense and getting to the foul line (7-for-8 so far). Ohio State has already picked up seven team fouls, and is only shooting 1-for-7 from three point range.

Oden’s ready to come back into the game, so Florida takes advantage of his replacement, Ryan Terwilliger. Al Horford lofts a baby hook for two points, but Terwilliger goes all Vanilla Thunder on that ass with a breakaway dunk. That’ll be all of Terwilliger’s glory for now, as Oden replaces him. Horford hits two free throws — still no FT attempts for OSU yet.

OSU’s Ivan Harris could be the mystery offense I referred to in the last thread. Jim Nantz says that the Buckeyes call Harris “Microwave”, which is insulting to Pistons fans everywhere. No matter, Lee Humphrey hits a three for Florida. That’s eventually followed by a Corey Brewer three, and it’s an eight point lead. Ohio State is looking sluggish, and pays for their lazy defense as Taurian Green hits a three. Well, then! Timeout, Ohio State. If we’ve learned anything about this year’s version of March Madness, it’s that no double digit lead is safe against a top seed. Problem is, Florida’s not a good team to give such a long leash.

3:41, first half. Florida 33, Ohio State 22.

Okay, I know Method Man isn’t a classically trained actor, but did someone on CSI actually write a line for him, “Forensics be jammin’ a brotha up”?

2:06, first half. Florida 35, Ohio State 24.

God bless ’em, Greg Oden is trying but he’s getting absolutely zero help from his teammates. Ohio State is 2-for-12 from beyond the arc, while Florida is 6-for-8. Oden has eleven points and seven rebounds, but that’s all if you’re searching for positives in the Buckeyes’ first half performance. Ivan Harris has hit two three’s for Ohio State, but he’s taken six, and if you look at the box score, that’s it for Ohio State. It’s Oden and…not much else.

On the other side, Florida is getting meaningful contributions five players, none of which are named Joakim Noah. Brewer and Green have eleven apiece (on combined 7-for-11 shooting), while Walter Hodge, Humphrey, and Horford all have five points each. Noah? Two free throws, two rebounds, two fouls, and you know what? His lack of stats isn’t making a bit of difference. Florida’s clearly the better, deeper team.

Half Time. Florida 40, Ohio State 29

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