Since 1995 - Insightful commentary on the Georgia Bulldogs

Post Congrats to Florida

Tuesday April 4, 2006


Looking back, hindsight shows that Florida won because they were one of the more complete teams in the tournament. UConn was another, but their arrogance took away their edge. Florida had great guard play, dominant posts, role players off the bench, and momentum. Nice formula for success these days. So many other teams had much more gaping holes. Duke had a dropoff in consistency after its two stars. Villanova found out what would happen when its guards weren’t hitting. UCLA showed that they don’t yet have the offensive punch to match its defense. LSU showed that it didn’t have the class of guard play to support the strong frontcourt.

Florida didn’t have many of those shortcomings, at least not at a significant magnitude, and so the only question would be whether or not this team could buck the trend of Donovan’s former teams and hold themselves together. The departure of talented headcases Walsh and Roberson were supposed to hurt the team, but they were young, talented, and didn’t know better as they made their way through the season as a team of role players playing at a high level. From Noah to Green, the one thing the Gators did have was speed. Pure speed. When your forward is the first man down the court, you’ve got a tremendous advantage. It was humbling watching Noah against Georgia’s frontcourt this year – he made the Dawgs look even slower than they were.

A lot was made of the Florida offense vs. UCLA defense showdown, but that made people ignore the other matchup – Florida’s defense against UCLA’s offense. As I posted on the DawgVent over the weekend, Florida plays decent defense themselves, and UCLA would have to prove that its defense wasn’t just a crutch for poor offense. Turns out that was pretty accurate. Florida played some shutdown defense, swatted away any shot near the basket, and there was no way that Farmar was going to carry UCLA singlehandedly.

Any SEC fan who had the pleasure knew what was going to happen at the beginning of the second half. The Gators, true to form, came out of the locker room firing from outside and quickly turned a situation where UCLA was just hanging on into a bloodletting. Donovan, only a year removed from some questions after a few high-profile teams and superstars made a habit of packing it in early in the postseason, now has a national title.

Can they repeat? The superstars of the tournament fizzled in the regionals, and new names like Big Baby, Farmar, Noah, and Skinn shone through. Noah’s NBA stock has to be at a peak now. Taurean Green is an incredible guard who has pro skills. But even if it’s just a cast of guys like Horford, Humphrey, Brewer, and Richard coming back, Florida is as stocked as any SEC team and still has a potent inside-outside game.


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