Get inside March Madness with SI.com's Luke Winn in the Tourney Blog, a daily journal of college basketball commentary, on-site reporting and reader-driven discussions.
3/28/2007 08:30:00 AM
Piecing Together the Final Four
Since you'll be subjected to Final Four breakdowns ad nauseam for the rest of the week, the Blog is piecing the lineup together instead. Herewith, the body of the Atlanta quartet:
Georgetown's Genes The Hoyas frequently state that they're forging a new identity using their ultra-efficient Princeton offense, but with famous fathers everywhere, it's still hard to separate themselves from old-school Georgetown. Coach John Thompson III and forward Pat Ewing are sons of Hoya royalty, while guard Jeremiah Rivers descended from the Celtics' Doc.
Joakim Noah's Trap The Gators' high-energy forward is the voice of the tournament thus far, whether you like it or not. From his "The seeds don't matter: it's yours against mine," post-dance rant on CBS after the SEC tournament, to his cries of "Keep hatin'" and "We win, we eat" after booking Florida's second straight trip to the Final Four, Noah never stops talking.
Arron Afflalo's Cool Confidence Most shooters would have become timid after going a combined 5-of-22 (and 1-of-8 from long distance) over a two-game stretch in the tournament. Not Afflalo. He came into his Elite Eight duel with Kansas ice-cold, erred on five of his first seven shots ... and then didn't miss for the rest of the game, finishing with 24 points. Next up: Revenge on Florida.
Greg Oden's Beard It's like a classic Larry Johnson playoff beard (a Lang Whitaker analogy), except Oden was wearing it for most of the regular season, too. Grant Wahl informed us Oden simply does not shave; he lets his facial hair grow out until he makes his next trip to the barber, who wipes it clean. Next year he'll have enough cash to install a barbershop in his house.
Jeff Green's Kicks Relevant for two reasons: First, Green and the Hoyas changed their shoes at halftime of the Vandy game, superstitiously ditching their new Jordan XX2s for their old Jordan B'Loyals. Second, because Green's feet made the tourney's most controversial move -- a debatable travel -- before he banked in the game-winner to sink the Commodores.
Lee Humphrey's Shooting Stroke When Humpty is on fire, the Gators are near-impossible to beat. He hit seven three-pointers (and finished with 24 points) in their Elite Eight win over Oregon, burning the Ducks' packed-in defense and even breaking the net in St. Louis -- causing a 10-minute delay -- after a fierce swish during the first half. UCLA, we presume, won't be leaving Lee so open Saturday.
Lorenzo Mata's Ink If there's one thing this Final Four is lacking, it's tattoo volume. Georgetown is mostly ink-free. So is Florida. All of this makes Mata -- who has a giant Aztec warrior on his left arm, and huge, praying hands with his mom's name on his right leg -- look like more of a renegade. If only he could bring back the mask that he wore last year in Indy ...
Ron Lewis' Daggers Daggers aren't body parts. But the ability to shoot dagger threes, as Lewis has, usually goes hand in hand with having something else. Cassells, let's call them. Lewis kept Ohio State alive in the tournament by forcing overtime against Xavier in the second round, and hit myriad big shots in his back-to-back 20-point performances vs. Tennessee and Memphis.
This is amazing! I just realized that Jokequeen Noah and Sanjaya Malakar from American Idol are never in the same room at the same time....could it be they are the same?? If only Noah could put on his seven magical braids for the game! I wish him well in the WNBA.
Just so you know -- other than this article which I did not read the part of "big mouth, small brain" noah -- everytime this jerk is interviewed, I change the channel -- if you sportswriting jerks had any sense you would not quote him, interview him or talk to him -- usually I support Florida but not with this loud-mouth pr**k and their footbasll coach who is an arrogant, smirky pr**k as well.
In spite of the fact that Roy Hibbert has the most un-atheletic running style since ex-Steelers QB Tommy Maddox (who ran like he had his pants down around his ankles), I love the guy. Roy proves that hard work, smarts and yes, size, can overcome a lack of pure atheleticism. Can we add a category for Roy's "length"
I agree with most of this except the 'debatable travel' comment. If you watch the replay he travelled. Even the announcers saw it and wondered why it wasn't called. Nothing debatable about moving your pivot foot.
Joakim Noah has a larger heart and soul and personality than any of the people who reflexively blast him. His passion and energy and teamwork are some of the prime reasons that Florida wins. These guys are truly brothers and warriors.
Anonymous at 9:20 - look at the rules. Green DID NOT travel. You can lift your pivot foot as long as you release the ball before the pivot foot comes back down, which is exactly what Green did when he shot the ball. As for your misguided "announcers" comment, Billy Packer said that it was NOT a travel. If you're referring to that buffoon Seth Davis, he admitted yesterday that he didn't know that picking up your pivot foot wasn't a travel. Unfortunately, much of the country is just as idiotic as Seth Davis.
Florida has 3 first-round draft picks who passed the bucks to return to school. They make grades, they play hard, they have fun, they win. They meet the ideal of college athletics. And they generate the pitiful whines from losers. Go Gator's. anonymous
Everyone hates Florida now, but only because we are quickly becoming the best school, and teams, in the nation... three straight championships will just make the haters even more obnoxious and jealous!
There are a lot of Gator Haters out there, that's OK, it wasn't that long ago that we were irrelevant on the national scene in hoops. To avenge that embarrassment from January (41-14!) you will have to beat us by 50 points. I can remember tiring of all the articles about a certain RB named Clarett, now where did he go to school?
Didnt Florida blow out a better UCLA team last year with Farmar and Hollins? I heard the same thing last year about what great defense the Bruins play. The Bruins arent even in the top 50 in total defense and Florida crushed them last year. This is a no-brainer and if you think UCLA has a chance, you dont watch enough basketball
As for the Buckeye fans Avenging anything.....this doesnt avenge your football defeat. You were blown out in Football by 27, blown out in bball by 26 - you cant hang with the Gators. The sooner you realize this.....the better! Stick to your Big 10 and your joke conference and while Florida is circling the BCS championship game, you are too busy circling Michigan - usually your only ranked opponent all year.
I don't really have a problem with Noah as a player or personality, but why does EVERY pic of him have to catch him mid-scream? At this point I'm not sure I'd recognize him with his mouth closed. Enough already! No wonder people are so sick of him.
I totally understood how Yankee fans must feel. As a Gator (class of '96) living in NYC I have to deal with Yankee fans and the perception of superiority. Well you know what they have the right - they are the premiere team in baseball and have a right to have a swagger. Folks this is only the beginning of a college football and basketball dynasty at UF - get ready to keep hating for a long long time!! Go GATORS!
I guess florida is a joke in football too then, because I remember Nebraska hanging 62 on them in the Fiesta Bowl . Did Florida even have a basketball team before Donovan or a football team before Spurrier?
Georgetown looked hopelessly outplayed for 3/4 of the Carolina game. They only won because Carolina went somthing like 1-20 in the last 6 minutes. Bottom line, Hoyas are lucky to be in a final four. Probably nothing more than a flash in the pan. See ya.
Two words "Keep hatin!" Jo said it and I'm reitterating it. UF is the best team in the country. Why can't anyone give us any credit. None in football and none in Basketball. Why is it UF fans are cocky because we believe we will win our third NC in less than 24 months. But when OSU was a shoe in to destroy us that was fine. It's cool I guess its hard to cheer for a real DYNASTY. Oh yeah America say goodbye to the "bad guys", because you will never see another group of bad guys like this one!
It comforts me to know that there are still plenty of idiots out there who think Green walked. I'll be happy exploiting your incompetence for years to come.
As for Georgetown being outplayed by UNC, perhaps you should take a look at Curtis Shaw officiating the game. He's a Big East ref who isn't allowed to ref Georgetown Big East games because of his anti-Georgetown bias. Gee, I wonder if that led to UNC attempting 32 free throws to Georgetown's 9 in regulation. Or maybe it explains the technical on the Georgetown bench for standing up. Or why Roy Williams didn't get one when he was 10 feet onto the court. Georgetown got easy looks the WHOLE game. To think otherwise is sophomoric and slanted.
"Backing up" your smack talk by winning doesn't justify the smack talk. You're still an arrogant pr@$k for doing it. These punks came back to school "to make history" with back-to-back championships...yet they have no respect for past history? Please, could you be more of a jerk? They need a lesson in class and humility, whether they win or lose. They could have been beloved by the country but choose instead to be hated, on purpose, so they can win out of spite. Losers.
Florida also plays in an offensively-challenged conference, at least as compared to P10, so anon's statistics are meaningless. I also agree with most of the comments regarding Noah, and NOT just because he's always photographed in mid-scream. It's his actions that form the basis for my opinion. He's a whining, arrogant, self-indulgent, smug player who defines what it means to not be a good sport. As someone else said, I tired of his act long ago. Oh, and he runs like a girl - It always seems like I'm watching a girl's basketball game when I watch Noah play.
UNC lost to Georgetown because while Georgetown pounded it inside getting high percentage baskets, UNC was busy jacking up NBA range 3's that were lucky to hit the rim. UNC stopped attacking the hoop, while Georgetown kept working it inside. There was no luck involved. Georgetown played smart, while UNC couldn't maintain their composure in the clutch and looked like what they really were: a bunch of underclassmen.
most pictures of noah are mid-scream because of simple odds. At a given point in time, a random photo has a 53% chance of catching him in that state. Chest pounding, jersey popping, and dancing make up the remaining 47% of his time on the court.
Nobody cares if Green walked or not, its completely irrelevant. IF Gtown ends up playing Florida, Green can carry the ball and run with it the entire game if he wants and the Hoyas still wont have a chance. With 3 top 10 lottery picks on their team, the Gators are unbeatable and for the poster who thinks that nobody can predict whats going to happen this weekend. Why dont you copy and paste this post for reference. Florida vs Gtown in the Championship. Florida will win by 7. Gtown was the only team who gave Florida a game last year in the tourney and the only team who can come close to matching up with them. Bruin fans will thank the Gators and Corey Brewer after the game on Saturday for forcing Afflalo back to UCLA for another year. Gtown will oust the Luckcyes and meet their demise on Monday night