You will hear the words that the Gators need a victory tonight to become a legitimate basketball force. Sure the Gators have had some early exits in March since we made it to the title game here in 2000 playing against another storied program in Michagan State. But, when you add it all up, we have the Gators and Billy Donovan again playing for a National Championship in college basketball.The second time in 6 years, and playing in its third final four since 1994. Not bad for an SEC team not named Kentucky.
Here we are faced with the images of all those great UCLA teams with Lew Alcindor and Bill Walton cutting down the nets. Not forgetting the Ed O'Bannon championship year to remind us that this team has been here before.
This Gator team was never supposed to be here if you read the news or even tuned into ESPN. But, thats the thing about this team, they have always believed in themselves, and that is why they are here today. You match the storied program of UCLA against Gators in basketball, they win everytime, you match the players up player for player versus what the recruiting analysts say, Bruins win again. But, no where is there a way to measure the heart and the wisdom that this young team brings to the table. They have a way about them self. This is no ordinary group of sophomores who are out for individual accolades. What they accomplish tonight will be based on how hard they show they can work as a team.
Had the Gators not of reached the SEC Final, they might not of been able to play with a team like this. Fortunately, Gators finally figured out how to play a team like UCLA where they are forced employ a slow down version of the offense. The Gators want to go at 125 MPH, where as UCLA wants to play under the speed limit.If they play a game like they did against Georgetown, they will be in the game. That's what this game will come down to, is some important posessions and key plays to decide the championship.
At the end of the day, both teams are winners. If Billy's team gets the victory, he gets the monkey off his back and he will get the credit that is long overdue. If UCLA wins, they will be talking about how Howland was the terrific hire. All we need is fourty solid minutes of effort. Don't stop the effort until the final buzzer sounds. Go Gators!! Make us even Prouder!! Lets hope we can say I don't believe what I just saw!!