When Ohio State and Florida meet each other for the NCAA Basketball Championship tonight, it will cap a history that goes all the way back to December:
ATLANTA, April 1 ? The Florida Gators and the Ohio State Buckeyes have built a rivalry in 100 days.
It was born Dec. 23 in Gainesville, Fla., when the Florida basketball team defeated Ohio State by 26 points.
It grew Jan. 8 in Glendale, Ariz., when the Florida football team defeated Ohio State by 27 points.
And it will turn 100 days old when the Gators and the Buckeyes meet Monday night for college basketball?s national championship, having met less than three months ago for college football?s national championship.
Ron Lewis, Ohio State?s senior guard, set the backdrop for the game Sunday afternoon, claiming that the Buckeyes were great and the Gators were simply good.
Never mind that Florida has blown out Ohio State in both major sports and holds both national titles. Lewis, like most of central Ohio, is sick of bowing down to the Gators.
Florida?s natural rival is Florida State. Ohio State?s natural rival is Michigan. The Buckeyes and the Gators play in different conferences and recruit different areas.
But they keep getting thrown together on the largest stages in college sports. As a result, they have developed a healthy hatred for each other in record time.
Interestingly, the biggest difference between tonight and January 8th, is that, this time, the Buckeyes are the underdogs:
Florida is viewed as being so absurdly superior that one New York reporter practically pounced on Buckeyes guard Ron Lewis during his turn at the podium upon noting that Lewis, unlike his teammates, had referred to the Gators as a “good” team rather than “great.” Then, after Lewis declined the opportunity to change his word choice, the reporter made sure to ask Florida’s players about his abominable slight.
“Oh my God! He said that?” replied a sarcastic Joakim Noah. “No! What a bad person.”
But here was the funniest part about Sunday’s festivities. When not being asked about the magnitude of Florida’s imminent, historical accomplishment or being asked to compare the Gators to the greatest teams of all-time, participants from both sides found themselves another, popular story line: The one about that football game these two schools played in January. You probably remember it.
That would be the one where the underdog Gators came in and totally ran over the undefeated and overwhelmingly favored Buckeyes.
Can history repeat itself ? We shall see.