Monday, April 03, 2006
First off, let me congratulate Florida for their performance, because they really did play an unbelievable game. I also want to congratulate their fans, such as Benny at The Sports Pulse. I'm obviously disappointed in the outcome, because I really thought UCLA would wind up on top here, but they just couldn't get it done. Florida really played a complete game, and everyone contributed for them. They absolutely left no doubt as to who was the better team. Other thoughts of mine:
- Joakim Noah was really very outstanding in every facet of the game. He got a lot of easy shots, but that's because he positions himself well and runs the floor so well. Defensively, the blocked shots were big, but mostly because he got in the heads of UCLA. Curiously, Tyrus Thomas was not able to do this last game, but tonight UCLA missed at least a handful of open short ones because they were worrying about Noah. Noah is also excellent at starting the fast break, even with the dribble or with the outlet pass. Great game by him, and great job by guys like Taurean Green to get him the ball.
- I thought the reffing was subpar and a little inconsistent tonight. This will probably make me sound like a homer, but I thought they missed 3-4 travels of Florida. Although with the way the Gators played, this would not have made a difference in the outcome of the game.
- Arron Afflalo forgot to show up for the first 30 minutes, but I suspect this had lots to do with the defense of Corey Brewer. He was absolutely everywhere tonight.
- I think it'd be great for college basketball if these guys stayed in school. Realistically, the only underclassmen that could make a real impact in the NBA at this point from these two teams is Joakim Noah, and even he could use another year to get stronger.
Anyway, I'm really disappointed UCLA couldn't get one more win, but all things considered, they had an absolutely fantastic year, and I can't take anything away from them. Ben Howland has done a fantastic job turning them around, and they've got a great group. Unfortunately, on this night Florida was the better team, and there's nothing anyone can do but tip their caps to the Gators.
Congratulations to the Florida Gators.