Ohio State has every reason to believe its second trip to the Sunshine State will go just as well as its first.
Two weeks after earning an early signature victory in Florida, the second-ranked Buckeyes visit Tallahassee for Tuesday night's ACC/Big Ten Challenge game looking to stay unbeaten in five meetings against Florida State.
Defense was tough to find in Ohio State's 93-75 win at then-No. 9 Florida on Nov. 16, but coach Thad Matta's team could hardly miss as it shot a season-high 62.9 percent and got 26 points apiece from Jared Sullinger and David Lighty.
The Buckeyes (5-0) have shot 49.7 percent in their three subsequent games, but their defense has been a bigger story. They've held those three opponents to an average of 43.7 points and 32.5 percent shooting while forcing 19.3 turnovers per game.
Miami of Ohio tried to continually bleed the shot clock during Friday's visit to Columbus, but it shot 29.4 percent from the floor. Ohio State, meanwhile, hit 52.1 percent of its shots and Lighty led the way with 21 points, six rebounds and six assists in a 66-45 win.
"When teams plan for us, they don't really know where to start," said Lighty, the fourth player to lead the Buckeyes in scoring. "We have so many weapons and have the ability to score points both inside and outside. We can do a little bit of everything."
Two of Ohio State's most dangerous weapons are freshmen. Reserve Deshaun Thomas is averaging 14.8 points, second-best off the bench among players in the six BCS conferences.
Sullinger, meanwhile, continues to impress the opposition. He's only averaged 10.3 points and 6.3 rebounds in his last three games after his dominant effort against Florida, but Miami coach Charlie Coles believes he's more than just one of the nation's top freshmen.
"Sullinger is one of the smartest kids I've ever seen as a player," Coles said. "He's Adrian Dantley at 6-foot-8. Dantley was 6-4. That's who that kid is. He's not the best freshman in the country - he's a top 10 player in the country. Right now."
Ohio State is 3-5 in the ACC/Big Ten Challenge, but it's 4-0 against Florida State - including a 77-64 win in the challenge last season in Columbus. Buckeyes guard Jon Diebler hit 6 of 12 3-pointers and had 22 points in that victory.
Diebler hit 4 of 7 from beyond the arc at Florida, but the Seminoles (5-1) weren't nearly as successful in exposing the Gators' zone defense Sunday. Florida State shot 33.3 percent in a 55-51 loss in Tallahassee.
"We missed out on a very good opportunity tonight and it's back to the drawing board," coach Leonard Hamilton said.
Florida State still figures to have a good shot at hanging with the Buckeyes thanks to its own defense. The Seminoles led the nation in opponents' field-goal percentage in 2009-10 at 37.7, and they're third this season (33.3).
They'll likely need a big effort from junior Chris Singleton. The reigning ACC Defensive Player of the Year is averaging 15.8 points, 9.8 rebounds, 3.2 steals and 2.8 blocks, and he'll be counted on to outplay Sullinger and Dallas Lauderdale underneath.
Singleton had eight points, eight rebounds and six turnovers before fouling out last season against the Buckeyes.
Florida State is 6-5 in the ACC/Big Ten Challenge.