Pat Forde has an excellent roundup of Florida’s trouncing of UCLA to win the NCAA Tournament.
For five straight years, Florida’s marches through March were short and not terribly sweet. The Gators were always in the NCAA Tournament — and always back out after the first weekend. This time, Florida stayed until the end, and in the process, scorched Bracketville to the ground. The final embers were still smoking here late Monday, after the Gators put a Zippo to UCLA’s britches, 73-57.
The Bruins might own dances past, but this waltz was all blue and orange. A program that couldn’t finish became a juggernaut that couldn’t be beaten, and only once could even be threatened. Florida won its games in this dance by 26, 22, four, 13, 15 and a sweet 16 points. The 16-point average margin of victory was the highest by a champion in five years.
The onslaught was capped off by an unprecedented title-game beatdown of a higher seed. The last time a lower seed won on the Biggest of All Mondays by this many points? Never, at least since they started publicly seeding teams in 1979. “I felt like we were going to win this game by a large margin when we came in,” versatile wingman Corey Brewer said. “Nobody gave us any respect all year. We proved it. We took our respect.”
Actually, respect for the Gators mushroomed over the past three weeks, to the point that they were the common-sense favorite entering the Final Four. But they had to endure the America’s Team talk before playing George Mason, then got an earful on Sunday about how were they ever going to penetrate that UCLA defense.
“All our guys heard about for the last day and a half was how great defensively UCLA is,” Florida coach Billy Donovan said. “I don’t think our basketball team got a whole lot of credit about how good they are defensively.”
They get all the credit now, after turning this Final Four into a crashing anticlimax to a riveting tournament.
- Florida and Ohio State in Another Championship Game
- Let the Madness Commence
- Gonzaga Wins WCC Tournament
- George Mason Makes Final Four
- BCS Championship 2006: Ohio State Buckeyes vs. Florida Gators
- Cornell wraps up Ivy League title and NCAA tournament bid with 95-76 win over Brown
- Former Olympic Medalist Wayne Collett dead at 60
- Tobacco Road Rivalry Resumes: Carolina Tops Duke 79-73
- Former U of Cincinnati and NY Knick Center Paul Hogue dead at 69
- Florida Panthers- Do or die
- Eight is Enough- Edmonton beats Chicago 8-4
- Lydia Ko wins New South Wales Open
- The Comeback I- Pittsburgh Penguins beat NY Islanders 5-0
- Seattle Mariners Outfielder Greg Halman stabbed to death at age 24
- Hee Young Park wins CME Titleholders Championship
- Oklahoma State Women’s Basketball Coach Kurt Budke dead at 50
- Costly mistake- Blackhawks waive Rostislav Olesz
- Manager Tony La Russa announces retirement
- Puck Drop- Florida Panthers start the 2011-12 NHL season
- 13-time PGA Tour winner Dave Hill dead at 74
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