Monday, April 02, 2007

Thoughts on the Cheha

By: Paul Teeple

With the national title game about three hours from tip-off, I wanted to post some disconnected thoughts on tonight's matchup before the festivities got under way.

This guy is ugly. That is all.
-Rematch more meaningful: If I hear or see one more Florida fan reference the 86-60 final score between the two teams when they met in December, I'm going to pop them in the jaw. How can I be more clear than this: IT WAS A REGULAR SEASON NON-CONFERENCE GAME. Forget Greg Oden's health, forget Al Horford's health, forget Florida's home-court advantage, forget everything else. In a sport where the postseason is the one and only thing that matters, Florida fans are leaning on the outcome of A REGULAR SEASON NON-CONFERENCE GAME as proof that Florida is going to walk all over the Buckeyes in Atlanta tonight.

-A Different Historical Repetition?: Kopech and I are of like mind on this game: it is a startling parallel to a national title match from a few years back... think about this:

One heavily favored team...
  • On their second consecutive Final Four visit
  • Featuring scads of veteran talent and a sick bench
  • A dynamic head coach whose championship weekend was hounded by questions about being offered his dream job

An underdog team with...
  • Two insanely talented freshmen (one decidedly more so than the other)
  • Surrounding cast featuring more young talent with veteran players sprinkled in to play key roles
  • A highly regarded head coach who was in search of his first ever national title

One Shining Block
Let me reveal the identities of our mystery guests from the 2003 National Championship Game...

  • Returning after their 2002 Final Four trip
  • Kirk Hinrich, Keith Langford, Nick Collison, Aaron Miles, Michael Lee
  • Roy Williams, who was pestered to the point of televised vulgarity about rumors that he was leaving KU after the Final Four to take a dream job at UNC

  • Carmelo Anthony and Gerry Macnamara (Melo was juuuuust a bit better than G-Mac)
  • Hakim Warrick, Kueth Duany, Billy Edelin
  • Jim Boeheim
I don't think you need a degree in applied mathematics to find each team's analog in tonight's final, though I will admit that the Boeheim > Matta parallel is a bit shaky since Thad Matta has only been OSU's head coach since 2004 and not, ya know, 1976. But even still, some food for thought heading into tonight's game.

Mr. Leak will not be on the floor on Monday
-History repeating Pt. 2: The overwhelming, no-expert-in-his-or-her-right-mind-would-pick-against-em, fans-talking-waaaay-too-much-trash, favorite entering the last Ohio State-Florida national title tilt got their doors blown off in a shocking upset that noone saw coming. You see, this applies because... umm... err... ohhhh, wait! That was football! I take it back. Why? BECAUSE FOOTBALL GAMES HAVE NOTHING TO DO WITH BASKETBALL GAMES! (please take notes, national media apologists*, Florida fans and alums)

*- Last year good ol' Skip wrote that UCLA was going to pound UF. He's picking Florida to rout OSU this year.

There may or may not be a point to these random thoughts. Florida may fight through an overwhelming onus and add another memo to Gainesville's recent title deed purchase of Columbus. But before anyone starts saying Ohio State has no freaking chance, they may want to stop and take a look around. Even you, Doyel.

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