Billyball lives on for at least one more game at Florida. After what felt like a Final Four instant replay, UCLA has certainly had its fill.
The Gators and their in-demand coach, Billy Donovan, moved one win away from a second straight national championship Saturday night, defeating the Bruins 76-66 behind 19 points from Corey Brewer, 16 from Chris Richard and 14 more from Lee Humphrey.
Donovan got the best of Ben Howland and Florida got the best of UCLA for the second straight year at the Final Four, adding this semifinal win to a 73-57 rout in last year's title game.
This victory for the Gators (34-5) set up another sort of rematch. They'll play Ohio State on Monday in the final, hoping for the same kind of result as their 27-point victory in the championship football game earlier this year.
The football coaches, OSU's Jim Tressel and Florida's Urban Meyer, were on the sidelines for this one, too, but only as spectators. The real stars were Brewer, Humphrey (three 3-pointers in the second half), Joakim Noah and, of course, Donovan, who the Gator faithful hope will rebuff a possible offer from Kentucky come season's end to keep building on the small dynasty he's created in Gainesville.
That drama will have to wait at least a couple more days, thanks to a wear-'em-down kind of effort that looked pretty much like what the Gators did to the Bruins last year.
The entire starting lineup came back for a repeat and with one more win, Florida will become the first team to go back-to-back since Duke in 1992 and the first ever to do it with the same starting five.
Ohio State Beats Georgetown
With Hibbert and Oden both hampered by foul trouble, it was Mike Conley Jr. and the rest of the Buckeyes who carried Ohio State to its first national title game since 1962 with a 67-60 victory over Georgetown on Saturday night.
Conley finished with 15 points, six assists and five rebounds, while Oden added 13 points — all in the second half — and eight rebounds.
Hibbert scored 19 and had six rebounds for the Hoyas, and more than held his own in the much-anticipated matchup with Oden. Problem was, he spent too much time as a spectator.
So did the rest of the Hoyas.
Jeff Green, the Big East player of the year who had been scoring a team-best 15.8 points in the NCAA tournament, had just nine points, and took only five shots the entire game. He did have 12 rebounds, but it wasn't enough — not with Hibbert out. The Georgetown bench finished with no points.
Hibbert left the game with about 16 minutes left after picking up his third foul. When he returned 3 1/2 minutes later, he reeled off a quick five points and Jonathan Wallace hit a 3 to tie the game at 44 with 9:44 left.
But Hibbert picked up his fourth foul 20 seconds later, and as he was heading back to the bench, Oden was returning. Just like that, the momentum switched again.
The Buckeyes got used to playing without Oden when he missed the first seven games of the season recovering from wrist surgery.
He scored on a hook shot, and David Lighty and Jamar Butler added layups. After a timeout, Oden took a hard foul from Green as he went up for a dunk. He made one of two free throws to give Ohio State a 51-44 lead with 6:37 to play, and the Buckeyes (35-3) were never in trouble again.