Gator News and World Report (4/3/2006)

The Gator News and World Report for Monday, April 3, 2006. Perfect March... Perfect April?; Deep run has put Gators in bizarro world; The Last Dance; Healthy Richard Grows Into Role; Super sophs want legacy of their own; Ex-Dwyer star Gee sees Gators beating UCLA; UF aims for history as rich as UCLA's; Noah turns tournament international and more...

Florida Gator Basketball

Perfect March... Perfect April?
arch was perfect.April?That could be even more perfect.Florida's season of firsts - which featured a school-record 17-game win streak to start the season before stumbling through injuries and inconsistency during a mediocre February stretch, has been defined through its torrid March. Nine of its 10 straight wins came during that month, putting Florida in position for its first national championship in school history.

Deep run has put Gators in bizarro world
Just crazy.It's the only word to describe what is going on here. Florida vs. UCLA for the national championship.

Comparing Florida's basketball tradition to that of UCLA's certainly doesn't take long.

The University of Florida men's basketball team will battle UCLA for the national championship at 9:21 tonight.

Will third time vs. UCLA be the charm?
Both Hugh Durham and Rex Morgan know what it's like to represent a Florida school against UCLA in a national championship game, and they believe the Florida Gators will be facing the Bruins under better circumstances in tonight's NCAA final than they did a generation ago.

UF fans ready to celebrate
As a Boston native, Dan Ripley celebrated in the streets with what felt like his whole hometown when the Red Sox won the 2004 World Series.

UCLA star Farmar nearly was a Gator
UCLA's point guard almost was Florida's point guard, but Pittsburgh's former coach kept that from happening.

Billy Donovan, The Evolution Of A Head Coach
At a surprise 40th birthday party on Ponte Vedra Beach last May, two powerful men huddled and discussed the guest of honor.

Healthy Richard Grows Into Role
University of Florida junior forward Chris Richard's first two seasons in Gainesville did not go exactly as planned.

Donovan is 'destined' to be one of the best
Billy Donovan's Gators had just defeated George Mason to reach tonight's NCAA title game against UCLA, and Donovan was walking out of the RCA Dome.

Super sophs want legacy of their own
One was an NBA brat, growing up wherever basketball trades took his family. One was an island kid, growing up in the Dominican Republic until he was sent to basketball finishing school in frigid Michigan. One was a child of the world, half Swedish, half Cameroonian, growing up in Soho, Paris, Yaounde and Princeton, N.J.

What's hoopening | Changing of the seasons?
Let's pretend it's October in Gainesville, and all the attention of the campus is focused on the reigning national basketball champions starting their new season. What part of that scenario seems farfetched?

Ex-Dwyer star Gee sees Gators beating UCLA
Alonzo Gee is not alone in believing that Florida will win the national championship tonight when the Gators face UCLA in Indianapolis.

UF aims for history as rich as UCLA's
If tradition meant everything, Howard Schnellenberger's Miami Hurricanes wouldn't have upset mighty Nebraska to win the 1983 national championship and initiate a new dynasty in college football.

Heritage links UCLA, UF stars
A little Afro-reggae music, if you please. Something by Yannick Noah, perhaps, with a distinctive Cameroonian flavor would be the appropriate soundtrack to rock the RCA Dome for tonight's NCAA Tournament title game between Florida and UCLA.

Gators basketball seeks place in sun
If the Florida Gators win a national championship tonight, fifth-year senior Adrian Moss anticipates a hero's welcome. A mob scene at the Gainesville Regional Airport. Parties on and off campus. Maybe even a parade down University Avenue.

UCLA-Florida matchup box
The point guards, Florida's Taurean Green and UCLA's Jordan Farmar, are similar offensively. Both average just over 13 points per game, shoot pretty well from 3-point range and have made big plays in the NCAA Tournament. Farmar gets a slight edge defensively. There aren't many similarities between the wing guards. Florida's Lee Humphrey has one job: score from 3-point range, which he does at a 45.8 percent clip, to spread the defense. UCLA's Arron Afflalo is a long-armed defender who won't give Humphrey the open looks he got Saturday against George Mason. Afflalo also leads the Bruins in scoring (16 points per game. Edge: UCLA.

Florida seeking first hoops title, UCLA looking for 12th in its history
UCLA had Bill Walton, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and all those championship banners. Florida had Vernon Maxwell and Norm Sloan. Different programs on opposite coasts with divergent histories play for the national championship tonight, though the game is more than that.

Noah turns tournament international
If movie character Austin Powers is the international man of mystery, then Florida's Joakim Noah is the international man of basketball.

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