Gator News and World Report (03/05/06)

The Gator News and World Report for Wednesday, April 5, 2006. The Gators return to bask in the love of their fans; NBA may roll out red carpet for Noah; Ospreys' rally stuns Gators; Meyer glad to see title; Heroes' welcome; Gator fans gear up in Gainesville; UF's chances to repeat hinge on whether '04's' return or turn pro; Fans welcome players after title-winning run; Lee was confident from start and more...

Florida Gator Basketball

A time to celebrate...
and look ahead to next seasonBehind a lectern next to the Siemens Trophy on Tuesday, dark circles under his eyes after a sleepless night, Florida coach Billy Donovan reflected on a season that began with uncertainty and ended with the first national title in school history.

The Gators return to bask in the love of their fans
During Tuesday's welcome home celebration at Gainesville Raceway, Joakim Noah made sure the microphone was passed around to all his teammates, even Jimmie Sutton, who redshirted this season.

NBA may roll out red carpet for Noah
As a crowd of reporters gathered at his Florida locker Monday night, sophomore forward Joakim Noah told stories of his varied experiences, ranging from his upbringing in Paris to summer pickup games in Harlem's Rucker Park.

Meyer glad to see title
Urban Meyer wasn't sure if he wanted to travel to Indianapolis to watch the Florida men's basketball team play in the national championship game. But after seeing the Gators defeat UCLA for the title Monday night and then spending time in the winning locker room, he is now certain he made the right decision.

Heroes' welcome
Peggy Farina had trouble expressing what Florida's first basketball national title meant, but she didn't have to use words as she blinked back tears while talking about Monday's historic victory.

Roundball Nation?
The most popular man in Gainesville was bereft of sleep - and a podium. So Florida men's basketball coach Billy Donovan improvised, stepping gingerly onto a white Igloo cooler to peer above the TV cameras and address the crowd of roughly 7,000 in the Gainesville Raceway grandstands.

Sophomore Effort Leaves Tough Questions For UF
University of Florida center Chris Richard has staked out what he considers the ideological high ground on the subject of three of his sophomore teammates and their potential early departure to the NBA.

Gator fans gear up in Gainesville
The champagne is chilling, the face paint is ready and classes sparsely attended as fans gear up to cheer on the Gators to what could be its first NCAA basketball championship.

UF's chances to repeat hinge on whether '04's' return or turn pro
The Florida Gators had just suffered their most embarrassing loss in the NCAA Tournament, a first-round defeat at the hands of tiny Manhattan College.

Fans welcome players after title-winning run
The game was all but over by halftime, but the celebration was still going on 13 hours later. After Florida's national championship win over UCLA, Monday night's spontaneous street parties spilled over to Tuesday afternoon's pep rally.

Donovan, Gators weary - but ready to celebrate
Sleep-deprived and delirious — feet firmly planted on cloud nine — coach Billy Donovan didn't expect the morning after to signal the end to the celebration.

This national title fits to a T-shirt
The championship T-shirts, a late-night rush on any NCAA title night, were completely sold out at downtown Indianapolis shops Monday within an hour of game's end, even as thousands of greedy Gators were still on the prowl.

Their One Shining Moment likely their last together
The question comes quickly, and it comes loaded. Who among the Florida Gators will come back to the team next season to defend the college basketball national championship it won Monday night?

Don't count on a repeat
That "One Shining Moment" - the national championship elation - is a fleeting feeling in men's college basketball. These days, a repeat by the champion isn't even considered. To the victors go the spoils of players making an early entry into the NBA draft, leaving college teams to reload with teenagers.

Florida overtakes UCLA with tenacious defense
irst came the rejection, then the dejection for UCLA. Florida outshot, outswatted and most notably outdefended the Bruins to win its first national basketball championship, 73-57 Monday night. The Bruins (32-7) had their 12-game winning streak snapped one short of claiming what would have been the school's record 12th national championship.

UK's sophomores better than Florida's? Only two years ago
On the day after an underrated sophomore class won a national championship, an overrated one came undone.

DiMarco sports Gator attire
Chris DiMarco bleeds orange and blue, so when his beloved Florida Gators defeated UCLA for the NCAA men's basketball national championship Monday night, he couldn't help but wonder if that would be a good omen for him entering the 70th Masters here at Augusta National.

UCLA Wrap-up: Restoring the Glory
What a joyous, unexpected and unique ride UCLA took its fans on this season. The Bruins ended up one win short of a national championship, losing to the Florida Gators, 73-57, on Monday night in Indianapolis, but that should not diminish what was accomplished by Coach Ben Howland's young and injury-plagued team.

Donovan's next trick is to keep Florida intact
Florida coach Billy Donovan lifted the national championship trophy above his head Tuesday, his eyes red after an all-night celebration with players, coaches, family and friends.

Lee was confident from start
Call him biased if you like, but Knicks rookie David Lee said yesterday that he was sure his Florida Gators were going to win the NCAA championship three or four minutes into Monday night's game.

Gator impersonator?
Chris DiMarco was a happy man Tuesday, and only in part because he was returning to a golf course where he has contended for a Masters title the past two years.

Crown fits well on Gator head
National champions! The University of Florida surprised the pundits and the prognosticators Monday night, winning the school's first NCAA men's basketball championship, beating storied UCLA, a school that has won 11 national titles.

Youth may be Gator aid
Billy Donovan hadn't had much time to think about the future since the Florida coach was operating on zero hours' sleep yesterday morning when he picked up the national championship trophy at the Hyatt Hotel.

Gators have DiMarco's spirits high
Chris DiMarco went into the players' locker room at Augusta National Golf Club just a little loud and proud Tuesday morning.

Florida, UCLA prime for repeats
UCLA coach Ben Howland gestured with his left hand to the five starters who sat alongside him at Sunday's news conference and spoke with pride - not concern - about their possible NBA talent.

Gators impress with one-sided triumphs
I'm sitting here, trying to wrap up the NCAA tournament and the 2005-06 college basketball season, while wondering if I've got the willpower to stick to my "no more junk food and no more late-night snacking" vow.

Donovan enjoying first championship
In a downtown hotel banquet room, Florida coach Billy Donovan reached out a little after 8 a.m. Tuesday and lifted the crystal ball off the top of the Siemens Trophy, which goes to the USA Today-ESPN national champion in college basketball.

Donovan calls Gators' Green the catalyst
More than an hour had gone by since Florida's 73-57 win against UCLA had given the school its first national championship in basketball.

Start of a dynasty?
Corey Brewer smiled at the question. Now that Florida has won the national championship, will any of the Gators jump early for the NBA?

Florida Gator Baseball

Ospreys' rally stuns Gators
North Florida (18-14) rallied for three runs in the eighth inning to defeat Florida 6-5 at The Baseball Grounds of Jacksonville on Tuesday night.

Ospreys rally for win over UF
North Florida has yet to complete one season of Division I baseball, but the upstart Ospreys are establishing a reputation as a dangerous team.

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