Gator News and World Report (3/24/2006)

The Gator News and World Report for Friday, March 24, 2006. Taking Sweet to Elite; Hoyas coach wraps himself in an air of dignity; Minutes don't matter to Moss; UF's run creates NBA hype; Gators' Heart: They Get It From Their Mamas; Hoyas Center Trying To Measure Up To Program's Greats; Gators in a rush to advance; Solid tournament heightens draft buzz around Gators; JT3's civility bucks dad's thunderous inflection; Noah's improvement sparks Gators' run to another Sweet 16 and more...

Florida Gator Basketball

Taking Sweet to Elite
It takes 35 seconds to heat a slice of pizza in a microwave, to watch a commercial on TV or to download an audio file on a computer.

Hoyas coach wraps himself in an air of dignity
John Thompson is worried about John Thompson. The way he holds it all in. The way he doesn't talk about it. The way he just smiles when father tells son to get some sleep.

Minutes don't matter to Moss
Adrian Moss doesn't know how long he will be on the court during tonight's NCAA Tournament game against Georgetown. It could be three minutes. It could be 19. It could be not at all.

UF's run creates NBA hype
It's March, and that means two things: The NCAA Tournament and underclassmen being caught up in NBA Draft talk. Florida is involved in both. The Gators will play Georgetown tonight in the Sweet 16 in Minneapolis, and they also have, according to analyst Chad Ford, three potential first-round picks in sophomores Joakim Noah, Al Horford and Corey Brewer.

Gators' Heart: They Get It From Their Mamas
The boy wanted to play. "Mom, let's go!" The 7-year-old, a visitor to New York from Paris, begged his mother to let him play with the boys at the park on 84th Street between Columbus and Amsterdam avenues. Cecilia Rodhe finally relented. She stood a safe distance away - she didn't want to embarrass the boy - and watched something beautiful.

Hoyas Center Trying To Measure Up To Program's Greats
Georgetown coach John Thompson III watched some of college basketball's top big men come through his father's Hoyas program in the 1980s and '90s. That's why the younger Thompson cringed last year when he heard people comparing current Georgetown C Roy Hibbert to Patrick Ewing, Dikembe Mutombo and Alonzo Mourning.

Gators in a rush to advance
It's a battle of contrasting tempos: UF wants to capitalize on its fast-break style in tonight's NCAA regional semifinal against Georgetown, which thrives on a slow-it-down approach.

Solid tournament heightens draft buzz around Gators
Florida Gators coach Billy Donovan has been here before — in the Sweet 16, with a group of players who generate increasing NBA buzz.

JT3's civility bucks dad's thunderous inflection
In the golden age of Hoya Paranoia, John Thompson wouldn't even reveal the location of Georgetown's team hotel to reporters unless it suited him. Every scrap of information was secret, practically sacred, when it came to gaining a psychological edge in the 1980s era Cold War of the Final Four.

Noah's improvement sparks Gators' run to another Sweet 16
Joakim Noah is the face of Florida's postseason success - a wiry, bushy-haired, bundle of energy who epitomizes the Gators' frenetic style with his active, all-over-the-court play.

A New Order on the Cour
The best-laid plans of mice and men often go awry." That's a famous saying, translated from a Robert Burns poem, that means that things don't always go as planned.

Gators pose `big' problem
With 726 career wins and an addiction to watching the sport he coaches, few in college basketball analyze other teams better than Syracuse's Jim Boeheim. His team faced Florida and Georgetown this season, losing to the Gators in November's 2K Sports Coaches vs. Cancer Challenge and splitting two late-season games against the Hoyas. Here's his take on tonight's Minneapolis Region semifinal between the teams:

Gators, Hoyas surprising experts
OK, so back in November, how many of the Dickie V's of the food chain projected Florida or Georgetown to be Sweet 16 teams?

Following the trajectory of Noah's arc
It's impossible not to play the what-if game when you hear Joakim Noah's story. Back when he was a growing boy, a mere 6 feet 3, maybe 6-4, he would attend Big John Thompson's basketball camps in Washington. A kid named Patrick Ewing Jr. was his best friend during the early teenage years, and the two are still very close. Big John, Noah says, is the one who teasingly nicknamed him "French Fry" and "French Toast" because the kid had lived his early years in France. It was also Big John and other camp instructors who taught Noah many of his early moves. "They really helped me learn the game," Noah said Thursday. "I went there for five, six years as a kid. I'm really happy to be a Gator now . . . but back then, Georgetown was my dream school."

TiVo tonight's regional semifinal between Georgetown and Florida. Even if it's not a classic, it could be one of the last times we see a college game featuring schools from power conferences boasting legitimate post players.

Thompson has Hoyas in the hunt
Shortly after Georgetown beat Ohio State last weekend to advance to the Sweet 16, former Hoyas coach John Thompson made a prediction that his old team would win the national title.

Florida's big test
Earlier this week, Florida center Al Horford had to call home to his father, ex-NBA player Tito Horford, in the Detroit area for a little help.

Deep bench crucial to UF's success
Where would Florida be without its top three bench players: Adrian Moss, Walter Hodge and Chris Richard?

Georgetown's biggest threat isn't just tall
Life was so much simpler for Roy Hibbert, in many ways, back when he was playing center for Georgetown Prep. At 7 feet 2, he towered over the rest of the players in the Interstate Athletic Conference, so he rarely ventured away from the basket. When he got the ball, he often just turned and laid it through the hoop.

Florida Gator Baseball

Cisco makes himself at home in rotation
ike Cisco watched, competed and played with fellow USC freshmen Justin Smoak and Reese Havens while the trio was growing up in the Lowcountry.

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