First Georgetown vs. Florida Game Regrettable

The Florida Gators and Georgetown Hoyas don't have much of a history on the basketball floor, having met up just three times. But the first meeting was noteworthy, in a rather negative way.

In February of 1990 the Gators were under the siege of Saddam DeVoe and staggered up to Washington D.C. for a meeting with Georgetown. Florida was 6-and-12 and had lost seven straight since the departure of star center Dwayne Schintzius. The undermanned Gators tried to slow down the same and limit Georgetown's possessions in a futile attempt to compete. The strategy was smart… maybe for the first 30 minutes or so. However, DeVoe continued to have the Gators hold the ball late in the game, despite a double-digit deficit, seemingly more concerned about the margin of defeat than at least trying to win.

After the game, Hoyas Coach John Thompson expressed amazement and disappointment that a team would be holding the ball in the final few minutes of a game. It's on thing to shorten the game to give a team a chance to win, but quite another to quit trying just so the score isn't as embarrassing.

Game Two Somewhat Historic

Florida's second meeting with Georgetown was Billy Donovan's first post-season game as a head coach. It didn't turn out the way the Gators would like, a 71-69 setback in the O'Connell Center but it was an important step in the progress of the program.

Donovan had posted a 13-and-17 in his first year with the Gators, but had things going pretty well in his second season. Florida was 13-and-8 and owned a win over Kentucky in Rupp Arena, but Jason Williams was dismissed from the team and without his remarkable talents, the Gators faded down the stretch, losing their last five games.

The Gators entered the SEC Tournament knowing they had to beat Auburn in order to be eligible for an N-I-T berth. There was a strong feeling the New York based tourney would love to invite Bill the kid, if the Gators were available. A 68-64 victory was a clutch win and led to Florida hosting Georgetown in the N-I-T's first round.

It was a close back and forth kind of game, but the Hoyas made the plays in the final minute to get the win. Florida finished the year 14-and-15 but simply earning a post-season spot was progress that helped propel the Gators into the remarkable eight years that have followed.

SEC Image on the Mend

The national perspective of the SEC as a basketball league has not been very good lately, in part because of less than sterling performances in the NCAA tournament. In the last five years the conference has seen its teams to combine for a 28-and-29 record, which is the definition of mediocrity. This year the SEC's collective R.P.I. was down due to a large number of "bad" losses during pre-conference play.

But Florida and LSU reaching the Sweet 16 gives hope for the future since the two squads combine for one senior starter. The league won five of six first round games and only the Tennessee loss to Wichita State could be categorized as a poor performance.

Should either Florida or LSU win, the conference will have its best tournament win total since 2000. Should they both advance --- a real possibility --- so much the better. In a league where the sophomore class would clobber the seniors, this is another sign that the SEC will be as good as any league in 2006-07.

As long as the NBA stays out of the picture, that is.

Stats Back up Exciting Perspective

Many believe this Gator Basketball team might be the most exciting UF has ever put on the floor. Well if you find dunks and blocked shot exciting, they certainly are. This group of Gators has both single-season records with 177 blocks topping the 1987-88 Gators (168) and 156 dunks, way better than the previous best total (109) set in the 1999-00 season.

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Don't forget to email me your questions and comments, but please do not include attachments! My email address is: vettel@gatorcountry.com .


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