Last night around 10:28 pm EST when Jordan, Arron and rest of their team-mates were busy slaughtering those vaunted NCAA basketball champions from the basketball powerhouse - LSU, my cell phone went off and this text message showed up from a buddy of mine I used to watch games with in college (who was a member of the yell crew)::
Well it's time to look forward to tomorrow night. I called my friend back who mentioned how this feels so much like 1995 for so many obvious reasons. I reminded him though right after we took care of the Big Country in Seattle, we turned out attention to a super athletic SEC team who were going to run us out of the Kingdome through their "40 minutes of Hell." Well here we are again ... in the Finals - playing against another superbly athletic SEC team, who according to most of the national experts will be run us out of Indiana. We will see I guess. In Howland we trust.
A great thing about last night's win is that many of our starters got a lot of rest and we should have plenty left in our tank for tomorrow night. Speaking of tomorrow night, here is a quick look at the Florida Gators:
Strengths: Florida finished the regular season only 7-6 after winning its first 17 games, but the Gators were competitive in all their games with their worst loss by six points at South Carolina, and they closed with an impressive win at Kentucky. They are the second-highest scoring team out of the SEC and their average 15-point winning margin was by far the largest in the conference. They are young, starting four sophomores and a junior, and they bring a couple of freshmen off their bench. But they also are deep enough to play eight or nine players a game.
Weaknesses: The Gators were outrebounded in five of their six losses, and turnovers were a problem in all but their loss at Alabama, where they had only nine (to Alabama's nine) but were outrebounded 42-33. Green has had his moments -- he led the Gators in scoring 10 times during the regular season -- but he shoots under 40 percent overall and under 30 percent from 3-point range. It's not a bad strategy to try to keep junior Lee Humphrey under control on the perimeter and play Green for the pass.
More (including a pic. you don't want to miss) after the fold. GO BRUINS.
At this point the formula for us is going to be pretty simple. If we are going to have a chance against the Big-Bad Mighty Gators it is once again will began and end with our trademark inside-the-jersey Howland defense. We written about it enough and linked to stories about it enough - but in case if you have been living under a rock during last few months and still trying to figure out what this Bruin defense thing is all about here is one more chance. Again it is obvious we are not going to get any respect until we accomplish what Arron alluded to above. Florida was fully expecting to play LSU and LSU was still not sure what hit them last night.:
"If we play LSU, it will be a great, great game," Horford said. And if you play UCLA? "Uh, don't know about that," he said.
"Bring on Big Baby," Florida guard Taurean Green said. "Bring on Tyrus." One suspects Green couldn't name a UCLA player he wanted to bring on.
Even after taking a thorough beating from the Bruins, many of the Tigers seemed baffled by what had happened.
Thomas, the 6-foot-9 freshman who dominated Duke with his shot blocking and rebounding, sat at his locker after playing only 17 minutes and scoring five points, mumbling that there was nothing UCLA had done to contribute to his team's demise.
"Just us, man," he said. "Just us. Didn't execute, man." When asked about Mbah a Moute, Thomas shook his head because he didn't recognize the name. "Oh, yeah, No. 23," he said finally. "I guess he was good."
Just remember - we have nothing to lose tomorrow night. Absolutely nothing. This is not a one-shot deal. Remember we are coming back and doing this all over again next year, and the year after. Howland is going to be here for a decade or two and we are probably going to be making this kind of run - having complete regular seasons and then give everything we have in the Big Dance every year. So whatever happens tomorrow night will work for us.
That said, I want that restoration of our hardware. And look who is at Indy to provide some of that karma from 1995:
Photo sent to me via email
Yeap that's right. That's no. 31 - Ed'O firing up the crowd with an 8 clap. Like my buddy said above. Feels like 1995. Almost there with our restoration of hardware. Less than 31 hours to go.