Talk hoops all year long in Luke Winn's blog, a journal of commentary, news and reader-driven discussions about the college game.
8/14/2006 01:08:00 PM
Checking In On … Your Defending National Champs
Al Horford: national champ, clean freak.
My apologies for the blogging drought at the end of last week. Football duties called in the form of a whirlwind tour of Florida and Florida State. Hoops was not altogether neglected, though. Before hitting the practice field, I snuck in some time with a few members of the national champion Gators hoops team, who were going through their summer workouts while Billy D and the staff (everyone other than new assistant Lewis Preston) were taking a brief vacation.
A few bits of news from the Florida camp, which embarks on a brief Canadian tour beginning Labor Day weekend:
• The Gators' offseason pickup games, I'm told, usually take this form: They break into three groups of five (they have to recruit an extra player or two), with big guys Chris Richard, Joakim Noah and Al Horford as captains. They then draft in a 1-1-2 format. "My first pick is always Walter Hodge," said Richard, "and Jo and Al either take Corey [Brewer] or Taurean [Green], depending on what order they're in." Richard also noted that he's on the losing team more often than not. Perhaps his avoidance of the junior class (he's a senior, Hodge is a soph) is holding Richard back. Just a thought.
• Horford said he, Noah, Green and Brewer are still living together in a four-bedroom apartment on campus. They did, however, upgrade from their sophomore-season pad. "We're trying to do it big this year," Horford explained. He said while they were not done decorating yet, Noah's African mask collection was their centerpiece. And when it comes to cleaning, it's mostly Horford and Green's duty, because, as Al said, "we have to stay on top of Corey and Jo."
• Horford's assessment of the roommates' living habits:
On Green: "No matter if it's 7 a.m. or 11 at night, he's always got a lot of energy. He can get on our nerves sometimes." On Noah: "He has a lot of energy on the court. Off the court he just wants to lay around the house." On Brewer: "All he likes to do is sleep. Between classes, the 40-minute nap, 30-minute nap, two-hour nap." On himself: "I just chill. That's what I do."
• The players had input on designing their national title rings, which they tentatively plan to receive at halftime of the football game against UCF on Sept. 9. They'll be made, coincidentally, by Jostens, the company of Donovan's old college roomie at Providence, and were modeled after Texas' football national championship hardware. I saw a printout of the final look. There is nothing subtle about it. Basically, bling in every sense of the word. Said guard Lee Humphrey -- probably the least-blinging Gator -- of the rings, "They're pretty big. They'll weigh down my hand, that's for sure."
• The team has been deluged with autograph requests. There's a meeting room in the Gators' practice facility where new goods are piled up daily. "I feel like there's at least 100 things a week that we sign," said Richard. "I've signed balls, posters, shirts, hats -- I even signed a car. The day we got back [from winning the title], this guy had a limo from the '50s or '60s, and he had us sign it. It was crazy."
The (rather obvious) question that everyone seems to immediately ask after I tell them I checked in on the Gators is: Do you think they'll repeat? I'm not foolish enough to make such a proclamation in August, but I would like to open up a discussion. What I'd like to hear from you, fans, are your best reasons why Florida won't repeat. Because, on paper, no other team is even remotely as title-worthy as the Gators -- so I'm going to have to be convinced otherwise between now and the start of the season.
Injuries are the only thing that can hold the GATORS back from repeating. They are deep enough and talented enough to lose one or two guys for short periods but if they lose a guy for the season or someone has to play less than 100% then that might crack the door for someone to beat them on an off night, but I doubt that happens. I think your blog next year will ask the question can the GATORS 3-peat with the loss of Noah, Hortford, and Brewer.
They will find that repeating is easier said than done. Ask every national championship team. Everybody is ready for them this year. Noah will not have nearly as good a tourney as he did in '06. Teams will bang him around this year unless he has gained about 30 lbs over the summer....I doubt he did. Horford and Richard are big strong guys, but they can't create their own shot.....opposing teams will hound the guards to give the ball up to the bigs where they cant do anything with it. Green and Brewer are in danger of a 2 for 10 night every night.
For the same reason that it's so difficult to repeat in College Football- you've got a target on your back.
The best coaches will be dedicating a large part of the offseason breaking down Florida's game tapes, looking for weaknessess.
Title contenders for next year, like UCLA, which played this Florida team, have an even bigger advantage. Not only do they have the coaching staff breaking down tape, but they have the players who understand what Florida is capable of.
From a Kentucky fan, I'm scared of the gators. I wish some of them would've gone pro so we could have a shot again. Will we ever beat florida again? We might stand a better chance of beating them in football than basketball.
They are too deep even if someone gets hurt. If they get cocky, then someone might sneak up and beat them, but that's about the only way that they won't sweep the nation next year.
The ONLY reaon the Gators will not repeat is if players from the other major programs sneak in the locker room and convince them individually that they should start considering inflating stats to improve their NBA pick. They will repeat and we should all cheer them on because when is the last time you saw a a bunch of first round picks pass it up WITHOUT QUESTION to play another year TOGETHER ?????
The reason the Gators won't repeat is b/c of their lack of depth vs Carolina's depth. Look at the runner-up Florida team that beat Duke and then Carolina in 2000, they ran simply on depth using a 5 man rotation. Carolina is at least 9 deep this year and maybe up to 12 depending on how the 3 non top ten ranked frosh do. Florida is 6 deep with 3 mediocre frosh coming in. Plus, Tyler is every bit as good as Noah and Carolina will have 4 guys standing 6'9 or more. We'll definitely know by January if all our frosh are for real too, I guarantee at least 3 of the 6 will be.
Florida will repeat. The bottom line is that nobody in college basketball has a better or more complete starting 5.
Can they shoot? Check Are they athletic? Check Are their bigs very good? Check Experience? Check NBA-level talent? Check An excellent coach? Check Do they play as a team? Check Attitude? Check Depth? Check
What don't they have? You can't say check for any other team in the country in all of those areas.
Horford, Brewer and Noah -- C, PF and SF of the kind no college can put on the court. With Richard off the bench, the 'poundability' factor is huge and formidable. The guards are the weak area, but Green and 'Humpty' are seasoned veterans of college ball. Even Hodge is seasoned. The question is if the Freshman recruits can make a contribution... The only way to beat this team is season-ending injury to 'Humpty' and either Horford or Noah...
If (and that's if)the Gators are healthy and firing on all cylinders in the tourney, no one will beat them. They will be better and more experienced this coming year. I think if the Gators lose, it will be because of themselves, not because they ran into a more talented team.
Do you people just blackout everything except the tourney? They deserve credit for their victory, but stop pretending like they were a dominant team last year. This is a team that lost twice last season to both South Carolina and Tennessee. They entered the tourney ranked #10, and they only beat one legit contender in the tourney. They'll be one of the top 5 teams, but only the ignorant who judge them based tourney only would think they're bulletproof.
Because the NCAA tournament "champion" isn't always the best team in college basketball. Florida wasn't the best team last year, Connecticut was. The one-and-out (times six) format puts better teams at a disadvantage since one hot (or cold) night can cause a loss to an inferior team. So even if we assume Florida is the best team in the nation next year, the chances of them repeating are far lower than their chances of failing.
theyre not gonna repeat. everyones gonna be figuring out how to play them this year and they have no bench. the ncaa tournament is one and done so anything can happen, and one of the stars could get injured. the tar heels are gonna win it this year.
Leave it to the media to jump ahead to March before the College B-Ball season has even STARTED!
There are so many unknowns with the 300 teams that are playing...so many new faces... so many variables between the start of the season and March Madness that anything ..and I do mean ANYTHING.. can happen.
No way Florida repeats. They'll make the Sweet Sixteen (maybe).
Florida is an outstanding team in every sense of the word, but that doesn't mean they'll be playing their best at the end of the season the way they were last year. Of course, it seems that if any team is going to be playing well at the right time, it'll be UF with their experience and balance, but if they aren't, they are definitely beatable. If they forget that, there's another reason they might not repeat. Also, basketball is crazy...
The reason that UF won't win again is not because they're not good enough or are going to be worse this season, but because too many other teams around the country are getting better. You have teams like Kansas, UCLA, Texas A&M, UNC, Tennessee, and others that have all improved from season to season the last couple years so it is to be assumed they'll only be better. Plus they've all gotten great recruits.
There are four teams- Florida, Kansas, Ohio State, and North Carolina- that based on talent alone, are so far ahead of everyone else it isn't even funny. However, it is almost always one of those second tier teams- Duke, UConn, Arizona, UCLA, even Georgetown- That make their runs due to coaching. My pick: UConn
Much like last year, expect the gators to have streaks of dominant games and some lackadaisical loses during the grind of physical SEC play. The only thing that will stop the starting 5 come tourney time is themselves. They will also be as deep as UNC or anyone else b/c the freshman they brought in are outstanding athletes who will accept complementary roles on a veteran team while they polish their skills. The other elite teams will fail for the same reasons they did last year = too many "stars" for just one basketball. 80/20 the gators repeat.
Yes we blacked out everyting in the regular season..give me a break. UF lost to two very underrated teams in SC and UT. Both of those teams could make a splash this year and most who actually follow the game wouldn't bat an eye. UF will dominate this year and the only team to stop them is themselves. Book it.
puh-lease! the gators would not even make the tourney if they played in the ACC. they had a nice run last season but lightning does not strike twice! ..and they made that run with players recruited by donovan, he of the conspicuous recruiting methods.
It will be very tough to repeat only because of the tournament format. It's not like a best of 7; have one bad shooting game in the tournament or get a key player in foul trouble and you're out. They were clearly the best team in the country at the end of the year. To the comment that they backed into last years title, that's ridiculous. Yes, they weren't undefeated last year...who was?
The great thing about college basketball is it is very rare to say who is going to be the best. Just take a look at all the preseason magazines, they are an absolute mess year in and year out. There are going to be three or four really good teams this year. Florida, UNC, Kansas, & Georgetown. Sorry, Buckeye's until it is on the floor you are at the back of the line. So to answer the question, No, you can't say that, but they will put up a nice fight while Kentucky figures out where their talent went and LSU waits for them in the SEC West. P.S. alot of players had great tournament runs and turned out to be busts. Noah is not as good as people give him credit for.
Granted last years tournament field was weak, THEY STILL WON! And guess what, next year's field will be easier w/ the exception of Ohio State (I am scared of Greg Oden). Florida is bigger, stronger and more skilled than anyone else and their style of basketball translates very well in the postseason. Put your money on Florida repeating!
the gators will be hard pressed to repeat mostly because of the nature of the ncaa tournament...with the single elimination format its easier for a team to run into another team which while might not be as good poses a very tough match up for that team...it was that way for villanova you could have argued they were a better team than florida but they just couldnt match up with floridas bigs...florida is goin to have trouble if they run into a team with athletic bigs and especially if that team was knockin down its jump shots...think of their round of sweet 16 game against gtown...the hoyas had the size and athleticism to match up..if bowman wallace and cook had just gotten a few more shots to fall the gators would have lost...all it takes is one hot team with the right match up ability and any team can lose in the tourney and thats what makes it so great
I don't see them repeating. The last repeat champ was Duke back in the early '90s. All the teams in the NCAA are just too close to each other in terms of being able to play competitively. Look at George Mason last year...
I could see the Gators getting to the Elite 8, but it will be way too tough for them to repeat. Look for UNC, Duke or Ohio State to win it all this year.
It breaks down like this: If you have to bet on a single team, bet on Florida. If you're betting on Florida vs. the field, then take the field. The odds are against the repeat, but the Gators are still the best team in the country to start the season.
UNC all the way! With the team from last year to build on they're going to be scary! Roy Williams knows what to do with talent, and he'll get the new guys to gel and make a team that can definitely prevent the repeat.
Everything about the way the Gators play as a team and with such unselfishness says the Gatos can repeat. Barring an injury they will get back to the Final Four. Oh yeah, It's in ATLANTA. There is something of a comfort zone in that city for the SEC!
Ok lets set things straight. The Gators won the national title and I bet if you ask any team that played them last year if Florida will repeat and most will likely say yes. Florida was one of the hottest teams in the country last year.ALL YEAR. They lost to S.C. and Tennesee twice but they had key players injured (Brewer and Lee Humph). Plus S.C. should have made the tourney and probably would have gone pretty far considering that they were a huge match up problem for any team. As for Florida's "Lack of Depth", I'll take the Gators starting five over UNC's and Ohio States. Florida won a national title so stop hating. All of you jumped on the bandwagon last year and you'll be back on it in march so why not be a fan, because "The Florida Boys are Hot Right Now"!
cough cough UCONN last year, they had everything, shot blockers, shooters, athletes and veteran leadership and what'd they do? lost to some team whose name i already forgot sure the gators will look amazing during the season but when you have to win 6 games in a row to quality opponents anything can happen
If you think Florida wasn't the best team in college basketball last year, you don't know much about college basketball. The fact that they lost those regular season games really served as a huge wakeup call, and did more good than harm.
People just can't take the fact that a school can be good in both football and basketball. Look at it like this: If Duke or UNC or Kansas breezed through the tourney and then returned all their relevant players, would anyone, anywhere not have them as favorites to repeat? Of course not.
Florida is the best team in NCAA basketball, period.
"Do you people just blackout everything except the tourney? They deserve credit for their victory, but stop pretending like they were a dominant team last year. This is a team that lost twice last season to both South Carolina and Tennessee. They entered the tourney ranked #10, and they only beat one legit contender in the tourney."
Yeah, we should probably switch to a fool-proof system where the top two teams at the end of the season play each other. Everyone will be for that.
Florida won't repeat. They weren't the best team in the nation last year, but they still won the tournament. People are saying they're the best this year (I don't agree), and since the NCAA champion usually -isn't- the best team from the season, that's a pretty good reason to say they won't repeat. Florida also had a fairly easy road to the championship last year; Villanova and UCLA were the only top quality teams they played, and I wasn't impressed by UCLA all season.
Furthermore, to look at it on paper -- they simply don't have as much talent as some other teams. Joakim Noah is overrated; he's a good player, but I didn't consider him one of the top 5 big men in college basketball last season. And he was the only player with top 15 draft status.
No one, just backs into the title, the florida gators played great all year long, just everyone wrote them off because of their youth. They were and will be a great team next year, no doubt that they will be title contenders this year. I really feel that Corey Brewer is one of the most underrated players in the country, but does whatever is asked of him to win. That is one reason why they will have a great chance at repeating.
At the end of the day, only one team wins out of 65. It's a single elimination deal. Repeating is HARD. Clearly, UF has the talent. That is not the question. It's winning 6 games, and that is always a roll of the dice.
"As for Florida's "Lack of Depth", I'll take the Gators starting five over UNC's"
ok does the starting five answer whose depth is better. That has been Duke's problem they have 6 mayb 7 great players and are amazing in the season but cant finish in the end so take ur starting 5 but ill take baby blue's fresh 12 with a man that'll make them work Got Roy?
The best reason why they won't repeat is simply because this is college basketball, and March Madness is such a tossup at the best of times. However, if you were to pick one team, Florida would probably be the best shot because they're the most cohesive TEAM. They're not the most talented team (probably UNC), and their players individually might be a bit overrated (Noah is the most overrated player in America, Brewer is actually the best player on that team), but they play together better than anyone else in college basketball. The only team I can see that might be legitimately a better team than Florida next year is Ohio State, which takes an already talented team with the fastest rising coach in college basketball in Thad Matta, and they add Greg Oden, who immediately becomes the best big man in college basketball when he steps on the court.
Last year was one of the most watered down NCAA tournaments ever. North Carolina has two entire NCAA tournament worthy starting fives on their team this year. I wish everyone the best in keeping the Heels from scoring 95 points a game (but they will). Don't forget that Roy Williams coached teams play defense too. Even the best national champion teams of the past 15+ years have not been able to repeat, so there is no reason to believe that the worst national champ in recent memory will be able to do so. Heels win it all this year.
WOW! Everyone always talks about how college football needs a playoff system instead of #1 vs #2 in one game, BUT when the tenth ranked team shreads all six teams it faces in one of the best playoff systems in ALL of sports, they get no credit. Was Florida the best team last year? Yes, absolutlely. They won when it counted. Will they repeat? Yes, if they're the best team at the end of the tournament.
Florida won't repeat. Not to take anything away from what they did last year or their skill level, but too many other teams gained so much this offseason and will be good this next season. Teams like Kansas and Georgetown will be great. UNC could split their roster up and have two teams in the top 20. As much as I hate to say it (i'm a unc grad), Duke will be make up for their losses and be good again. Greg Oden is amazing and Ohio State was good last year. If Kevin Durant fits well in the Texas system, they will be good. Florida will probably stay in the top ten the whole year and win the SEC, but there are too many good perennial powers, not to mention teams like George Mason, that could knock them out in the tourney. But anyways, UNC all the way and the ACC will return to dominance next year.
About Uconn last year, they had the talent, but they just were going through the motions the entire season and seemed to be playing more for themselves and not the team. You will never see the Gator players doing that. They all play for the team, which is why this is the team that could repeat.
About the Gators bench... Chris Richard would start on at least 300 of the teams in the nation. Walter Hodge will make that freshman to sophomore jump that has the biggest improvement. Those 2 will have a great impact. Also the freshman, despite not being high quality recruits will be able to step in and can give us some quality 5-10 minutes(all we really need).
It's so hard to repeat and I doubt my Gators will be able to. I really doubt OSU or UNC will win the NC because most of the time freshman makes mistakes from not having experience.
The team everyone is sleeping on is Kansas. I think they have the best chance at winning it all.
NO way will they repeat. Are they very talented Yes but so are many other teams. They just happened to get hot in the tourney. As history shows the best team on paper doesn't always win and the last repeat was in 1992 with sorry Duke. Florida will be last years version of UConn and Duke, talented but having some bad games and not always playing up to their potential. Go HEELS!
The Florida fans are delirious to use the reasoning that they are automatically going to repeat just because they are talented. Look at all the times we have seen the mighty fall. As a sensible non Gator college basketball fan I can boldly proclaim that in 2007 63 other talented teams have just as good of a chance to win it all.
Well since nowadays, everything is based on potential and not your accomplishments, let's just rank Ohio State & North Carolina at the top. Unless your name is Duke, UConn, or UNC, a national championship team with all 5 starters returning won't be ranked No.1 to start the season.
In response to the below copied comment (one of the best in terms of covering the bases) there are two other teams that can check every box and those are UNC and Kansas. Check Draft Express for their 2007 mock draft if you are in doubt. Both UNC and Kansas won their conferences in 2006 with freshmen. Both have outstanding recruiting classes. Both have coaches who have coached multiple tournament winners in the past 10 years (actually much better than Donovan). I like Ohio State for their freshmen but because they must rely on freshmen (like UNC and Kansas last year) they are a year away from being real contenders (assuming Oden stays which is very iffy). The game to watch will be Florida against Kansas in Las Vegas in November. We should get some measure of how those two stack up against each other then. And never ever underestimate Roy Williams.
CJ Giles (Kansas 6-11) is a better athlete than any prominent big man in college basketball. He will be a junior and when he figures it out (only has played 4 o4 5 years) he will dominate. Sasha Kaun (Kansas 6-11)is a very talented big also. Darrell Arthur is a 6-10 freshman (# 2 rated PF in the country)who will give good relief minutes. Darnell Jackson (6-8)can bang with Horford and anyone and is a very talented player. Julian Wright (Kansas 6-8) just might be the most talented player in the country. The closest competition for that honor might be his own teammate Brandon Rush (6-6 who was the first freshman to be Big 12 player of the year). For UNC Tyler Hansborough (6-9) might have been the top freshman big man in the country in 2005 and will be joined by freshmen Branden Wright (top rated PF at 6-9) and Deon Thompson (6-9). Both schools seem to be deeper and maybe better talented at the big men position.
The missing question below is are the guards and wings great? That would be Mario Chalmers and Brandon Rush and Russell Robinson with freshman Sharron Collins (all Kansas). UNC will rely on Bobby Fraser, Danny Green, Marcus Ginyard, along with freshmen Wayne Ellington and Tywon Lawson. There are no schools with better and deeper talent in the backcourt than these two schools.
I agree with the comments that no school in the tournament can be a favorite. One of these three is most likely to emerge with the trophy.
Quoted from above:
"Florida will repeat. The bottom line is that nobody in college basketball has a better or more complete starting 5.
Can they shoot? Check Are they athletic? Check Are their bigs very good? Check Experience? Check NBA-level talent? Check An excellent coach? Check Do they play as a team? Check Attitude? Check Depth? Check
What don't they have? You can't say check for any other team in the country in all of those areas."
No, and here's why: I honestly can't see anybody beating Minnesota. Sure they lost their best players, but they have several top prospects coming in this year. I think they even have a chance to go through the Big 10 undefeated. Go Gophers!
I'd say the chances are slim, but stop hating on them from last year!!! I think it's funny all these UNC fans talking bad about Florida, give credit where credit is due. You don't hear everyone bashing UNC when they won their titles. As I recall, Florida did blow out Villanova, a favorite all year, and George Mason, a team that beat UCONN, another favorite, UCLA, who beat Memphis, Gonzaga and LSU, all favorites to win. Your all right though, ANYONE can win the NCAA tourney, because ANYONE can have a bad night. And for you UNC fans, you saw what happen last year to your prize player "Hansbrough" when he played some other "big men". He got SHUT DOWN...YES, UNC will be better this year, but don't doubt a team that returns ALL it's starters, Florida IS NO LONGER ONLY A FOOTBALL SCHOOL!!!!!
The Gators are the best team in college basketball. Will they repeat? Hard to say. Ask the UNC fans why their coach has deliberately avoided playing the Gators this fall when he has had multiple opportunities to play set up by ESPN. I think Roy is a liitle scared.
A lot of ignorant hate about the Gators here. Why? I don't care for UF one way or the other, but I certainly enjoyed the way they played basketball last year. Like Packer said, one of the best team efforts in recent history.
They return their top 7 players and a real good 4 man recruiting class. As good a recruits that are already on the team. How has that been working so far for Donavon and UF?
That gives them much more experience and a deeper bench than last year. How did that work out for them?
They beat the stuffing out the NCAA tourney. No team will have better guards than Villanova did last year; they couldn't handle UF. But, some freshmen guards are going to take it to UF. That's funny.
My advise is to appreciate a heck of a team. Take the hate somewhere else.
No. All in all, it was a weak year in terms of talent across the board. Nothing against UF as I like them, but they were a relatively weak national championship team compared to recent championship teams. I'm not sure what next year's overall talent will be, but even with their experience, they are much more vulnerable.
The earlier comment was right: if you had to bet on one team, bet on Florida. If, instead, it is Florida or the field, take the field.
That said, the Gators will be the best team in the nation by far.
And one thing our delusional North Carolina "countdown to dominance" always seem to overlook -- the ACC was just a bland conference last year. UNC could not have won any other major conference -- so that false confidence is going to really bite them in the butt this year when the ACC should have recovered somewhat.
Florida, Kansas, Ohio State, Georgetown. Those are your likely top seeds and your Final Four in 2007.
I'd like to say something to all those UNC fans, are you kidding me? basing national title hopes on incoming freshman. UCONN lost too much to the NBA. GATORS will repeat barring any injuries and they will get a top seed. UCLA wasn't close last year and they won't even get to the elite 8 this year. GO GATORS
It's nuts to pick any team to win it all at the start of the season. Sure, UF won it last year, and they deserve props for doing it. But they were hardly on anyone's awesome team list until they DID win it. Plus the fact it is just incredibly unlikely to repeat. The intangible it takes, besides talent, is just a boat-load of luck, pure and simple. I don't care how good you are, if you don't have a healthy dollop of luck on your side, you won't repeat.
The reason the Gators probably won't repeat is that last year's very young Ohio State, North Carolina and Kansas teams have just as much talent as they do; in fact, to my displeasure, probably more. They surged at the end of the season. Now they have experience, talent and hunger. That's deadly. I can't decide, but one of those teams will be my pick in March.
First, like has been said previously, will UF repeat? Probobly not, because almost no one can. I don't even think an NBA team could be repeat champs of the NCAA.
But, if you had to pick one team, why not Florida? All major starting and major bench players are returning.
OK, so some other teams got some great high school players that have never played a college game before, hmmm. Right, because in the history of college sports all great recruits fully live up to their inflated expectations.
Third, for those who think we are worshipping UF. No, they are not the best ever. Yes, they lost some regular season games. Yes, they will lose some games this comming year. If anyone wants to bet me that ANY team will go undefeated, I'll take that bet in a second.
UF was good last year, National Champion good. Their best players are returning, why not a repeat.
Finally, to all those saying that the Gators won a weak tournament. Maybe if all the other teams were as good as the Gators it would have been a stronger field. Sure UF didn't play every top seen in the tournament, but guess what, no one does. There are always upsets and always will be upsets. Florida beat who it had to beat. And OK, so maybe UF benifited from a few extra upsets, but think about this. Over the coarse of the year, Florida beat every team in the Final Four (UCLA and GM in the tournament and LSU regular season). How many teams have done that.
Full disclosure, yes I am a UF grad, and proud of it.
Final question: Has any school won both the Basketball and Football national championship in the same year or will Florida be the first?
The won the national title. They are returning 7 players from that team. Joakim Noah is by far more athletic then what most you idiots give him credit for. Also he was doing all the things you saw in the tourney all year. Horf is a manchild. Taureen is going to be far better this year. Brewer is by far the best of all of them he is just highly underrated. Humph is the best shooter in college ball. Oh yeah non of them have to be a superstar either so no ball hogs like UCONN. UNC play us beat us and you can say your better. But until then respect us.
The only reason they might not repeat is because winning 6 games in the NCAA is very tough. Although, I like their chances since all the other vastly overrated pretenders like OSU, Duke and UNC with old man Hansborough will be watching the Final Four from home....
Chris Lofton and the Rest of Tennessee...They beat them last year twice without any real legit big men...So this year they got 2 possibly 3 big men and Noah will actually have trouble against them...So they lose his points and the rest is simple...Those three on Florida blew it not comin out last year. If you ask me they might turn out to be the leinart of basketball... mediocre year then come out and dont go high lose money all so they can take a ball room dancing class... boy if that isnt a humdinger
FL has a great chance to repeat. How else do you explain Jo, Big Al, and Brewman all foregoing the NBA to come back and get another ring? If that's not hunger...
But UNC and Kansas might get in the way. UNC has at least 5 future NBA players, so the talent is off the charts. They have at least 12 guys who are worthy of playing time at other ACC and D1 schools, so the depth is downright scary. They have a good coach who plays by the rules. The only question mark is chemistry.
We already know FL is a TEAM, which is why you can't bet against the Gators without expecting to lose some currency.
I love it! You either love them or hate them, just like football. Weak Field? Who cares. All they did was win the games they had to, can't fault them for that. Sure they lost to South Carolina twice, but the third time when it counted in the SEC Championship game the Gators won. Sure there are a lot of talented teams, but it takes more than just talent to win a tournament. And until the other "talented" teams prove they can win when it counts the Gators should be favored.
People talk about Noah and Brewer, but Horford IMO is the best player on the team.
FYI .. Noah has added 15 pounds of muscle Horford has grown taller Richards dropped body fat and is solid 255 so he can bang with Big Baby The whole team has been playing and training all summer to improve their skills.
They are hungry for more and the coaches know how to keep the team focused, even Pat Riley praises Donovan for his motivational skills.
For you haters that want to drag Donovan through the recruiting mud, get a life, the man is clean. And there is a reason why Florida's recruiting classes are ranked where they are. Donovan doesn't want the one and done kids. He would rather take a kid ranked lower if he knows they are going to stick around.
Three reasons: 1. Last years run was a fluke. I'm not saying they weren't good, but there's no way that Florida was better than UCONN, BC, Villanova, and Duke. (Hard to stomach coming from a Carolina fan) 2. North Carolina. Returning #50. The recruits? Come on. #1 PF Brandon Wright. #1 PG Tywon Lawson. #1 SG Wayne Ellington. That alone combined with the returning talents of Wes Miller, and Reyshawn Terry = 2007 National Champs. 3. Competition. Florida will need all the game they have just to come out #1 in the SEC. Then there's Kansas, Greg Oden coming in at Ohio State, and UCLA all ready to show Florida just how hard defending a title can be. With all due respect to the program, Florida wont make it to the Final Four, and Joaquim Noah wont get drafted any better than 6th.
All these Florida supporters who base their predictions on the fact that very little in the Florida program and personnel has changed need to realize that other schools made huge changes and additions. This is the first year where high school seniors are not allowed to go straight to the NBA draft. This is going to send an influx of talent into several teams that probably were already very good to begin with. UNC might have gotten a recruit or two that they normally wouldn't have (and for those of you who say their just freshman, look what Roy Williams did with the freshman of last year). Greg Oden would never have gone to college if he didn't have to. There are going to be too many good teams with good new talent for Florida to repeat. They'll be good, but they won't be the best.
I'll be interested to see the Gators play KU in Vegas around Thanksgiving. If just one of the Jayhawk bigs can put it together this season, I think Florida might be a little overmatched, as ridiculous as that may sound.
Thanks to all of you disrespecting idiots, I won't have to worry about my Gators being complacent this year, which is what usually wrecks most repeat championship attempts. Thank you all very much. Go Gators!
Gators will get a 1 seed because they will kick butt all season long and look unstoppable. They will lose three games but will lose to GT (dont ask me y im a UNC fan ps im not a bandwaggon either posers) UNC will lose in the final four b/c they will choke so somehow Wisconsin and Kansas in the final and Wisconsin wins
ps if all this happens can i get a job as a sports illustrated writer?
if uconn was the best team in the country last year, why did they lose to george mason and florida beat them? florida has all the talent in the world, and i would put my money on them repeating as national champions.
This is off-topic, but a lot of people keep mentioning Ohio State and Kansas as teams to beat next year. It just so happens that Florida will be playing both of them before kicking off their SEC schedule this year. How awesome is that?
UF has NO depth beyond it's starting five, and those five players cant play all forty minutes. get the ncaa to start playing 5 minute halves and then maybe UF will win it all. Oh and one more thing the gators don't have, Roy Williams. GO HEELS
Unbelievable!!! I guess quite a few "fans" were not paying attention to just how good Florida was last year but believe me the other coaches and teams around the country were and they will have Florida as the overwhelming favorite to repeat. I know how tough that task is but for now they ARE the Champions and until someone knocks them off they stay the champions.
On to some other points. Florida got better. They have an outstanding freshman class of players who have looked fantastic so far in the informal workouts and they return their top 7 players from last year's team. This is going to be a frightfully deep team. Joachim Noah, had he gone in the draft, was picked as a Top 5 choice by every NBA pundit and I imagine they know more than regular fans. Now here is the scary part. As good as Noah is Al Horford may be better. In fact because most of the core players were only sophomores we have not seen their best basketball yet. Not even close.
One last note. The Gators did lose to South Carolina and Tennessee twice apiece. They lost no game by more than 5 points in the season and because they were so young (again, 4 starters were just sophomores) it is part of the natural process that they got better as the season went along culminating with winning the SEC Title and then the National Title. This team is not even close to peaking. Anything could happen in the Big Dance but in August the prohibitive #1 team in college basketball is Florida. I'll let them put the exclamation point with their play this year.
Florida has gobs of talent but it's team chemistry that put them over the top last year. With all starters back and four living together (again), plus a talented freshman class coming in, it's conceivable that they'll be better than last year.
Great teams with chemistry are hard to beat. Just think of the New England Pats, Dallas Cowboys---name your franchise----the chemistry tag applies.
I'll confess I'm a huge Gator fan but the chances of them repeating, just based on the chances of an opponent having a great shooting night, etc, mitigates against such an event. True, other NCAA powerhouse schools are loading up with talent and that will be tough to beat too.
But in the final analysis, if you had to pick one team to win it this year, wouldn't it be the team with the talent AND the chemistry. 5 starters (3 guaranteed lottery picks) returning to try to repeat is something we'll probably only witness infrequently in this world's "show me the money" mindset. Win or lose, I think that Donovan's coaching job last year, and the team's decision to return is a testament to the character of this team and I don't see how any legitimate NCAA fan can pull against the "throwback" Gators unless you're playing them. It's a great story.
While most often I emphatically agree with most of what you have to say, I cannot do so with your latest article. While I agree, yes, the Gators have a very strong nucleus returning and do have a boat-load of athletic, talented defensive minded guys on their roster, I just dont see them as far and away the best team in college basketball next year. For beginners, the UNC team is loaded. Repeat: Loaded. Not only do they return the same gutsy, similarly defensive minded type squad from last year, but they arguably added an entirely new team worthy of being starters from this year's recruiting haul. One thing people always seem to cast aside in the early months of college basketball is the fact that teams with long benches almost invariably due well in March. The other factor which also gets overlooked but yet is just as invaluable to those late season runs: Point guard play. And the Heels have arguably two to three sold options at the point in Lawson, Frasor, and (sometimes) Thomas. I just dont see the Gators running away with anything with another team like the Heels taking the floor next season. Second, and just as important, dont forget that there is still that other squad over there Lawrence KS who isn't too shabby either. Good group of guys returning and a good system over there makes me think this team too will make a deep run in the March madness. Also, I like the fact they play the Gators in the regular season.
Just like last year, i think if they gators play smart and as a team they will win...Im tired of hearing that Ohio State will just dominate with those freshmen recruits....yeah they have oden but he isnt lebron james....we'll see how he does when noah and horford swat his shot in december. Im also tired of people saying that Uconn was the best team...no they werent. Florida was, plain and simple there regular season was pretty good..yeah they lost to tennesse but i believe they barely lost to Memphis and destroyed Texas. Conneticut had the best players ...ill give them that...but i say that was based on potential...gay would get complacent, boone was good in college and i think the best player on the team was marcus williams...an awesome cast of players but better than florida? florida beat george mason by 15 en route to the title...Uconn squeaked by every game and then lost to Mason...GO GATORS.
I think UNC will win it all this year. More talent and depth. One more thing before any KU people get one here and talk how they are the favorites and final fours do us all a favor and get out of the first round this year first before you can say anything. KU plays in the weak big 12 and dominate that league for 2 months and play no one. The the NCAA comes along and they CHOKE. So KU people you have no room to talk any smack at all. KU fans favorite thing to say and they all need to tattoo this on their boday cause they say it every March. " Wait until next year ". GO HEELS!!!!!
The reason they lose next year is a team that can slow the game down. Keep it slow and keep it close and hope for the best at the end. South Carolina used the formula for two wins last year against. But Florida did end up beating the 'Cocks and Hoyas to end the season when they managed to slow the game down, but they are the only teams to not get blown out by UF at the end of the year. I don't think UNC or Kansas have the discipline to slow the games down. Florida's greatest strength is its athleticism.
First off, the odds are against the Gators repeating as national champs, simply because of the difficulty of winning six games in a single-elimination tournament. That being said, the Gators would still have to be considered a favorite based on their unique combination of talent, experience, balance and team chemistry.
But, what really surprises me in this blog is the ignorance displayed by some fans regarding the great season the Gators had last year.
The Gators won 33 games last year and were 20-0 against non-conference teams. That included:
- 3-0 versus ACC teams (beat Wake Forest, FSU and Miami); and
- 4-0 versus Big East teams (beat Syracuse, Providence, Georgetown and Villanova).
To recap the season, the Gators began the season on a 17-0 run, rising to #2 in the polls, behind Duke. They were the last undefeated team in the nation. The Gators stumbled in mid-season, partly due to injuries to Brewer and Humphrey, but were competitive in all six losses, never losing a game by more than 6 points. Once the Gators got back on track, they finished the season on an 11-0 run
They beat LSU, the SEC regular season champs and Final Four participant, twice.
The Gators led the nation in field goal percentage and, for most of the season, led the nation in assists per game. All 5 starters had a positive assists/turnover ratio. The only other team in the nation to match that stat was South Carolina, which won the NIT tournament.
The Gators won all three tournaments that they entered last year: the Coaches vs Cancer Classic tournament in Madison Sq. Garden; the SEC tournament; and the NCAA tournament.
Finally, for all those who claim that the Gators weren't the best team in the nation last year, consider this. Jay Wright, Villanova's great young coach, said that the Gators were the best team they played this year. And, yes, that includes UConn.
As a Fla grad and fan, I can't say anymore that's been reiterated by other posts. But two things stood out with last years basketball season in my mind. One, was the total COLLAPSE of the team I thought would win it all. Connecticut. I feared their size and overral athleticism would make life tough for any team in their way. But I looked forward to the UF-UConn game. Only those guys forgot HOW to play as a TEAM. Kudos to George Mason for not buckling under and allowing the arrogant Huskies to simply mail in the score. Watching them meltdown in that game. . .with the last shot jacked up from 30 feet . .was truly eye opening. No doubt, Josh Boone and Hilton Armstrong, Rudy Gay and the boys got caught with their pants down and their egos stuck in the crevices.
They could have learned what TEAM basketball is all about. .by watching Fla peak at the right time. Afterall, the goal is to win the LAST game. . no matter what happens in Dec or Jan. Or, in the tournament. Money "talks" while BS "walks". Then after winning the championship, having ALL of the NBA certain high draft picks decide to RETURN. .as a unit. .is virtually unheard of in this "me first, what have you done for me lately" world of sports. On these merits alone, I'd like to think that this is refreshing. And hopefully not the last time it happens. . . just don't bet on it.
No doubt about it, luck plays a part in any tournament. The favored team's shots rim out. .and/or your top players get into foul trouble. . and anyone, on any given night scores the upset. And that's why I love March Madness. No, I won't predict a repeat. . but I'll bet that the Fla Gators will acquit themselves for what they've accomplished. .and what they stand for. It's still the best TEAM that hoists the trophy.
I am a UF fan living in Chapel Hill, so I have some perspective on UF and UNC. I would love UF to win it all, but I think it is just too hard to repeat. The 1-and-done format is too iffy. Even Donovan said that UF getting to the final was somewhat based on luck.
That said, the UNC fans belief that they are a lock for the championship is laughable. Roy has won exactly as many NCAA titles at Donovan, and until he inherited a STACKED team (of headcases, but stacked) he was more known for disappointing early exits at KU. When did Roy become some sort of mythical, otherworldly coaching genius, because I seem to have missed it.
UNC is going to be good, and Hanesborough is one of the best low post players in the country. He is better than Horford (sorry UF fans). After that, I see the match-up stacked in UF's favor. Not saying UF would win head-to-head, but I'd happily put my money on them rather than a young team coached by ole Roy.
The Gators will be favored to repeat barring injury to key players. Most likely they will not repeat since it is getting more and more difficult to navigate the tournament as a top seed. That's why College BBall is so pure when compared to FBall. If Bball used polls and computers to decide the Champion, you could choose between Duke, Uconn, Kansas and UNC every year. Last year neither Florida or UCLA would have been anywhere near a Championship, yet they got to play for the title and Florida was a clear champion.
i would like to point out a couple things. 1.)florida isnt in the ACC, and 2)florida wont even meet UNC until the tourney. say what u want, experience is just as important as having talented players. i have heard that every team in the SEC, with the exception of mississippi and auburn, could make the tourney this year, which would be more than the beloved ACC.how can you say that the gators wont even make it out of the sweet 16 when they have returned everyone(except moss(graduated) and huertas(transfer)), plus gained several top 100 recruits?
you can talk up OSU's recruits and UNC's recruits all you want to, but they are just that, recruits. they havn't played a single college game, which is a heck of a lot different than high school. high school hype does not always lead to college success. so, until these players can prove to the nation and their competition that they can handle the pressure and can win the big games, they dont mean a thing. the gators will repeat barring injuries.
sure their were better teams in last years tournament. however, they didnt show up when they had to. florida did. they handlded the pressure and killed everyone they played. the perennial powerhouses( aka dook and uconn) choaked when it counted. why dont all of you stop dwelling in the past and the future and focus on the present. florida is the reigning champ, and i think that they deserve a little more respect. i understand that unc got great recruits, blah, blah, blah. that wont matter until they can win it all. why cant fans of the other powerhouses be unbiased for a little bit and give UF the props that they deserve. gators will win it all because they are the definition of a team, and they have the experience, combined woth just as much BIG GAME PROVEN talent as anyone else.
No way they will repeat. They didn't have to mow through a large number of quality opponents because of all the upsets. Even the experts could never have predicted this final four. LSU, UCLA, George Mason & Florida? Come on, how could they NOT win the title last year? This year's tournament will be different, with familiar powerhouse teams getting back on track.
I think Florida has the best chance to be the first repeat champion since Duke.It is very hard to accomplish but since when has the defending champions returned all five of their starters.I mean,that is unprecedented in this day and age.Granted,Florida was lucky that their underclass first round picks were having fun on campus and were not in dire need of the money.All the pieces are there for them to repeat barring injury.There are three teams that I think pose the biggest threat to Florida.They are Kansas,North Carolina,and Memphis.Yes you are reading right,Memphis!When you look at Memphis'roster,they have a backcourt that can compete with anybody.They have guys like Antonio Anderson and Chris Douglas-Roberts returning after solid freshman seasons.They are bringing in top recruits like Willie Kemp,Tre'Von Willis,and Doneal Mack(by way of Florida)into the fold.And to top it all off,Memphis is welcoming back fifth-year senior Jeremy Hunt after a one year layoff.And let us not forget walk-on Andre Allen who is the best walk-on in the country.Memphis'frontcourt isn't shabby either.Expect a breakout season from Robert Dozier and don't sleep on Pierre Niles.Overall,I think Florida should be the number one team and may pull off the repeat but if they don't,I pick one of my aforementioned three teams to win it all(even Memphis)!
florida has the best chance of any team in the nation to repeat as national champions. but they most likely won't though, for one reason.. the other teams, they don't have win the national chapionship all they have to do is beat florida
All I here from fans of the other teams favored is how much talent they have. They are all basing their seasons off of kids who really haven't proven anything yet. Sure it's great to have talent, but you cannot dismiss the powers of cohesiveness and hardwork. Florida was not the most talented team last year, but they all knew how to play together and with a lot of heart and determination. They have proven that they have what it takes, not only to win one title, but to repeat.