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Saturday March 17, 2012 Gators Arrive in Ohio for first-round NCAA Tourney game against Ohio State

Updated: 1:13am, March 17

BOWLING GREEN, Ohio – Thanks to Gary the bus driver, who told Gators women’s basketball coach Amanda Butler that he is a stand-up comedian when not behind the wheel, the Gators arrived safely at their hotel here on Friday night.

Stroh Center

(Photo: Stroh Center at Bowling Green State University)

They hope the joke is not on them when they face Ohio State on Sunday at the Stroh Center in the first round of the NCAA Tournament. Florida was invited to March Madness for the first time in three years and the Gators hope to stay awhile.

To do so, they will have to beat the Buckeyes only about two hours away from Ohio State’s campus. The Gators (19-12) and Buckeyes (25-6) have never met in women’s hoops.

However, as you probably know, Florida and Ohio State have developed a nice little rivalry in recent years. Well, nice for the Gators.

Florida beat Ohio State for the 2006 national title in football, and then a few months later beat the Buckeyes in men’s basketball to win their second consecutive national title.

The rivalry was renewed a couple of months ago in Jacksonville when the Gators beat the Buckeyes in the Gator Bowl, securing a winning record in Will Muschamp’s first season after replacing Urban Meyer.

As for Meyer, who won his first national title in that 41-14 victory over the Buckeyes for the ’06 national title, well, he is now head coach at Ohio State. Coincidentally, the Stroh Center is located only about a Hail Mary pass from Doyt L. Perry Stadium, home of Bowling Green’s football team.

A few years before Meyer called The Swamp home, he called Perry Stadium home as a first-time head coach in 2001 and 2002 at Bowling Green.

The Gators hold their first practice early Saturday afternoon shortly after holding a press conference to discuss Sunday’s game.

Check out GatorZone.com over the weekend for coverage of Florida’s trip to the NCAA Tournament here in Bowling Green, located right off I-75 a few miles southwest of Toledo.

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