Saturday afternoon provides the perfect basketball appetizer for the main course of BCS football action in a couple weeks. Playing the role of the Rose Bowl, Michigan will be taking on the traditional powerhouse of the Pac-10 who is coming off a tough loss in the national championship game last season. In basketball terms that would be UCLA. And in a preview of the BCS national title game, Ohio State and Florida will tee it up on the hardwood down in Gainesville. Both games will be televised on CBS as a back-to-back doubleheader. Michigan at UCLA at two o'clock, followed by Florida-Ohio State at 4. If you're not in the Christmas spirit yet, this should do the trick.
Ohio State is ranked third in the nation and the Gators are fourth. Greg Oden is still not 100 percent, althogh Pat Forde notes on ESPN.com that 75 percent of Oden is enough to lead this Buckeye team to the national title. Thad Matta is wisely getting his young team tested in hostile environments early. OSU has four freshmen among its top seven players. They face a team that has the ability to defend its national title. Florida is big up front, going 6'9", 6'10" and 6'11" across. But the Buckeyes may get a break. Al Horford has been out with an ankle injury and there's still no word as to whether he'll play.
Michigan brings experience to the table, with four seniors in the starting lineup. They are off to an 11-1 start, although they haven't beaten anybody of note yet. Taking on the top-ranked team in the country in Pauley Pavillion doesn't seem like an ideal place to have to start. Like Ohio State, Michigan's front line is going to be tested on Saturday, and Courtney Sims and Brent Petway are going to have to negate the rebounding of Luc Richard Mbaha a Moute. If not here, Tommy Amaker's program will need a breakthrough somewhere. And fast, if this commentary by Michael Rosenberg in The Detroit Free Press is indicative of what the school is thinking.