Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Sports: It's all just a little bit of history repeating...

The Florida Gators defeated Ohio State (again) to win the NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament (again). For anyone outside of Gainesville, this might not be an interesting story, but most UF students who read local papers and see the players around the university know how special this team is. The starting five includes the Oh-Fours (named because they entered school in 2004) - Corey Brewer, Al Horford, Joakim Noah, and Taurean Green and senior Lee Humphrey. Providing support off the bench are Walter Hodge, Chris Richard, Marreese Speights, and Dan Werner.

These guys are the definition of "team." No one player is the go-to guy; no one player is so important that the team cannot function without him. In terms of offensive firepower, the 06-07 Gators had formidable weapons inside (Horford, Richard, Noah) and deadly-accurate shooters outside (Humphrey, Green, and Brewer). Defensively, thanks to the coaching of Billy Donovan, the team tenaciously guarded the perimeter and allowed their big men inside to clean up the glass. Off the court, the Oh-Fours and the Seniors had a special bond that is rare to see in today's ego-fueled college basketball game. Nobody on the Gators made First Team All-American; there are no Durants or Odens on the Gators. But then, Durant and Oden don't have two championship rings, either.

This victory feels like deja vu in a number of ways. Not only did UF beat OSU 86-60 in a December basketball game, but the BCS championship was also captured by UF over OSU. Man, talk about one school "owning" another. It is, of course, pretty impressive for OSU to get to the championship games in both sports, but history tends to forget about second-place finishes. So congratulations to the still national champs, the Gators.


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