Three thoughts from OSU-Florida
On Tuesday night, the answers were "not in this game" and "yes."
Give credit to Florida for its concerted effort to stop Ohio State from feeding Sullinger on the block. Patric Young battled hard for position all night and Florida's guards almost always flash-doubled (sometimes more than once) when Sullinger did make a catch. As colleague Luke Winn artfully noted last season, Jon Diebler was a tremendous post feeder last season in addition to being a lethal 3-point shooter, and his presence will be difficult to fully replace.
By my count, Ohio State only successfully fed Sullinger in the low post on nine of their 68 total possessions (although he had several other catches down low off feeds/inbounds plays and also had a handful of high-post touches that were fruitful). On those nine possessions, the Buckeyes scored 15 points, or a lofty 1.67 points per possession. On their other 59 possessions, whether Sullinger was in the game or not, they scored 66 points, or a more normal 1.12 points per possession. When you add in the baskets and foul shots Sullinger created on his high-post and other touches, it was clear that any possession where he didn't factor in was a plus for Florida.
Mix in his passing ability and his sensibility on when to attack off the bounce and get his own points -- he's fantastic as a layup finisher -- and you have a player whose value far surpasses was what a nice box score line: 13 points, three rebounds, seven assists, three steals.
There's no doubt the tenor of the game changed for the worse for Florida when Murphy went out with foul trouble in the first half, and the game started to get away from the Gators when he banged his head on the court early in the second half and spent some more time on the bench.
Young remains the only real post defense presence and, as mentioned above, he did as good a job as you could expect on an All-American center, but Florida will be at its best when Murphy's out there with him.