Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Florida Goes Back-to-Back [David Stefanini]

Florida defeats Ohio State 84-75 to give the Gators their second consecutive National Championship.

The game was well played, but after the first 10 minutes, there was no question as to who was going to be crowned National Champion. Florida was just to talented for any team to knock them off in this tournament.

Here is a recap of the game from Sportingnews.com:

"They knew the way up the ladder. They did not need MapQuest to find their destination. It was a path the Florida Gators had traveled before. Six games through the NCAA Tournament, eight steps to the top to chop down the nets--just like last time, though the journey was far more perilous and their arrival was both pleasure and relief.

What were they doing here, winning another championship? They were asked this many times by people who considered only the financial security they were delaying for a year. Joakim Noah, Al Horford and Corey Brewer were considered NBA first-round picks after the Gators beat UCLA for the national title last April, but they returned to take their chance at accomplishing what only six other programs had managed in the history of the NCAA Tournament--to win consecutive championships.

It was such a gamble. Not because it was likely any one of them would be injured and damage his standing in the draft, but because the capricious nature of the tournament made it possible that even if they again were a great team--and certainly they were--they very well could stumble.

Their brilliance prevented that from happening. "The story that happened this year is so right for college basketball and so right for young players," says Florida coach Billy Donovan. "I'm not saying every single player should come back to school. But I feel bad for kids that are pushed out, given bad advice or wrong information."