04/01/2007 11:00PM

Shootout figures to go to Florida


LAS VEGAS - In an NCAA men's basketball tournament that has seen form hold pretty much throughout, No. 1 seeds Florida and Ohio St. will meet in Monday night's championship game.

Both teams rolled to victories Saturday in the national semifinals, with Ohio St. an underdog to Georgetown. For the tournament, favorites are now 32-26-4.

I was on the losing side of both games as I had Georgetown -1 as a 2-unit play over Ohio St. and UCLA +3 vs. Florida. My bankroll plays, after making a nice rally last week, fell to 11-15 overall, including 3-3 on 2-unit plays, for a net loss of 5.8 units (based on risking 1.1 units to win 1).

Here's a look at the title game:

Florida (-5) vs. Ohio St. (o/u 140)

9:15 p.m. Eastern, in Atlanta, Ga.

An argument could be made that neither of these teams deserve to be here, and both have had scares throughout the tournament. If Ohio St. goes on to win the title, Ron Lewis's 3-pointer to send the game vs. Xavier to overtime will be forever remembered as the Buckeyes' one shining moment. However, everything I've seen points to Florida repeating as champions and covering the 5-point spread. When these teams met in December, OSUs Greg Oden had four fouls and was held to just 7 points and 6 rebounds, and I can't see him avoiding foul trouble again vs. Floridas Al Horford, Joakim Noah and Chris Richard. Both teams have good backcourts, but I'll also give a slight edge to the Gators in that category. I think the stronger play will be on the over. The total opened as low as 135 at some Las Vegas books and has since been bet up to 140, and I still like it at that price. Both teams are not shy about putting up shots and driving to the basket. The only thing that would keep this game under would be if the teams experience big-game jitters, but note that Florida was held without a basket for the first 7 1/2 minutes Saturday night, yet still put up 76 points against UCLA, which is a better defensive team than Ohio St.

PLAY: Over 140 points for 2 units, and Florida -5 for 1 unit.