Final Four: Closing thoughts

By Jerry Palm - April 03, 2007

The debate can now begin over where Florida ranks in the historical annals of college basketball. Certainly, this team would have to be considered among the greatest of the last 25 years. Few teams have done what they have been able to do (win the title twice). Few teams had not one, not two, but five guys who could put 25 points on the board on any given night. Few teams with that much firepower could defend as well as they defend. This was one great basketball team.

Ted Lewis of the New Orleans paper tells me that the stat of the tournament is that Florida made one fewer field goal than its six opponents. 155-154. The difference is that they made 53 threes while only giving up 35. Also, they outscored their opponents at the line 135-69.

I saw Tournament Queen Jeanne Boyd on the floor after the game and asked her if she can take a nap yet. She just laughed. They're tearing the place apart now, but she's still here.

The confetti had a lot of orange and blue in it. It wasn't all orange and blue, but I wondered if there was another set with more red and gray in it in case OSU had won. Nobody knew the answer to that one.

The Yellow Coat guarding the Florida locker room door was getting a LOT of love from the players and coaches as they went by. Noah was high-fiving him and hugging him, yelling "I told ya! I told ya! I never lied to you!" over and over.

The media horde around the Florida locker room was pretty thick, as you might imagine. Once they finally brought out the players for the press conference (all the starters but Noah), the crowd plowed into the locker room to get to Noah.

I decided to go back later and head for the press conference instead. On my way, I saw OSU coach Thad Matta being interviewed in a chair against a wall, so I listened in as best I could. There wasn't a big crowd around him, but he's pretty soft spoken, so it was hard to hear. That changed when a reporter asked him how he felt about Conley coming back. Matta said something about hoping he does, and the reporter told him that Conley just said he was in the locker room. Matta let out a big "WOOO!"

Seeing fellow blogger Bryan in the press room, I made my way back to the locker room to see if I could hear Noah. That crowd was at least 6 feet deep. One camera girl tried to climb on to a chair to see over the top, but fell through the back. It was right next to me, so I grabbed her and the camera to try to keep her from falling off (and possibly worse, breaking the camera). I don't know how much I helped, but the camera was OK. She said she was fine too, but when I passed her again 15 minutes later, I overheard her tell her on-air person that it hurt pretty good.

The scoreboard has been lowered to the floor to break it down, and there's a guy standing on top of it. There isn't enough money to pay me to get me to do that. I'd sing Karaoke before I did that.

The first question to Billy Donovan at the conference was about his future. As usual, he deflected it, but didn't take as long to do it as usual. He finished with, "Nice try, though."

Greg Oden's college career likely ended with a 25 point, 12 rebound, 4 block performance. He was the monster we knew he could be tonight. And the refs let him play. But one man, or even two, can't beat a team.

I am in complete agreement with the all-tournament team, which is reported below.

I'll have another entry, about the bests and worsts of Atlanta, but I have to think about it first.

OOPS. There goes my power. Talk to you later.

Posted by Jerry Palm at 01:02 AM on April 03, 2007

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