Thursday, February 15, 2007

No Love

In a game that I am somewhat ashamed to say I had given up for lost, the ever resilient Gators came back from as far as 18 down at home to beat Alabama 76-67. In true team fashion, the Gators found yet another of their “big 5” – this time Taurean Green – to make a game winning difference, as Green scored 20 in the second half.

This Gator team has fight.

This morning, I eagerly logged onto in order to read the game wrap-up from the night before. If you think the number one team in the nation staging an 18 point comeback would be big news, you would be wrong. On the front page of – not even the college basketball page – there was a headline story about Duke basketball called “That’s more like it”. It seems unranked 19-7 Duke - .500 in the ACC mind you – merits a front page story for beating Boston College, with several articles about the Blue Devils (“Are they NCAA worthy?”), but the number one team in the land staging a massive comeback gets barely but a link.

So, I figure that maybe I will hear something about the game on the way to work on ESPN radio. I did – they mentioned that Florida beat Alabama “76-67” (no mention of a comeback), and quickly and breathlessly went on to talk about Ohio State’s and Greg Oden’s (one might think him the only player on that team) 2 point win over 10-14 Penn State (1-10 in the conference, mind you) with the statement “Ohio State is now ELEVEN AND ONE in the Big 10!!!

I guess being undefeated in your conference is no big deal.

Just as I thought I was starting to become paranoid that the media was ignoring my Gators, I came across this piece by Stuart Mandel. In it, he points out the now-17-wins-in-a-row Gators have been on national TV but 4 times this year.

4 times.

It is not paranoia if they really are out to ignore you.

This Florida team, as Mandel points out, has the same record as the forever ballyhooed 1991-1992 Duke team of Laettner and Hurley through 26 games. They, like that Duke team, are the defending NCAA champions. However, they are getting no where in the solar system near the same hype as that team, or even the highly successful teams of the past few years.

Which, in my opinion, is just fine. As long as the media continues to over hype the Ohio States (remember 86-60?) and .500 conference play Dukes, the motivation remains for this Gator team to be hungry. Billy Donovan, who has resorted to some interesting tactics this year to keep this team focused, likely appreciates the help he is getting from the national media.

It is not often that a defending national champion and first ranked squad can play the “underdog” card. But, with the media virtually ignoring them, this team might just be able to do so.


SJV said...

God, thank you! I was starting to think I was being so freaking paranoid. I feel much better now!

jimcaserta said...

Gators do just fine when underestimated - just ask...Ohio State!

The only games on TV that will matter are in March and the Gators will get their 6 shots.

Duke is the ND of bball, both overrated and got bounced by LSU when it counted.

Eric said...

Don't know if you read Bill Simmons' comments from the UF-UK game. I thought they were interesting.

Trader Rick said...

This game proved the Gators can be beaten badly, but also that they can make incredible comebacks. They outscored the Tide 45-25 in the second half...