Update: Florida is back in the Final Four. I'm curious about two things:
(1) Short-term: Does Florida's experience against UCLA in last year's title game help or hurt them? (Help: They've already proven they can beat them. Hurt: UCLA has that powerful "revenge" factor.)
(2) Long-term: With a second consecutive Final Four to pair with last year's title, it's time to consider this Gators team in its all-time-best historical context (say, post-1985).
They aren't Duke '91-92 yet. And I wouldn't put them at UNLV 90-91 yet. (Michigan State 00-01 is kind of weird, because Izzo basically took two different teams to the Final Four.)
But, regardless of how they finish in this Final Four, I'd put them among the top 5 college teams ever since '85. More on this tomorrow. Just thinking out loud for the first time on this...
As I whittle away the hours until Florida meets Oregon...
1:49 p.m.: Rationally, I know that Oregon's style is a MUCH better matchup for Florida than either Purdue or Butler. Irrationally, all this "Oregon is this year's Florida" stuff is freaking me out.
UCLA saved the Tournament: By beating 1-seed Kansas, the Bruins ensure that the dreaded "4-1" (4 1-seed) scenario once again is thwarted from ruining the Final Four.
I appreciated the prospect of unprecedented novelty, but if the NCAA Tournament is built on anything, it is the foundation of "all 4 1-seeds have never made the Final Four in the same year."
Ohio State looks really good: After watching them struggle through the Rounds of 32 and 16, to see the Buckeyes clock Memphis makes their Final Four appearance more intriguing.
(Oh, and OSU totally debunked the ludicrous theory that the tournament was somehow left with better games if it was 1-vs-2 in the regional final. This one was a dud.)
Florida over Oregon: As I said yesterday, this is "this year's Florida" versus last year's Florida. Ducks mighty-mite Tajuan (5-foot-6) Porter (33 pts in W over UNLV) scares me. But I'm thrilled for the Gators to finally not be playing the Purdue/Butler-style grind-it-out games.
Georgetown over UNC: By far the most highly anticipated game of the entire tournament. It's Selection Sunday's trendiest pick versus the field's most talented team. Should be a great one.
(And, yet: I'm already sick of the nostalgia for 1982. I appreciate that it's the 25th anniversary of UNC-G'town in the title game, but consider that no fan under 35 years old -- at a minimum -- has any recollection of this game beyond ESPN Classic-style highlights.)
Women's Tournament: No. 1 Duke shocked in upset by Rutgers. I hope Florida watched the game and keeps in mind today. No presumptive favorite is safe.
D2 Title Game: Barton over Winona State, in what was one of the best games/finishes you'll see.
Peyton Manning on SNL: I'm disappointed he didn't reprise Joe Montana's famous role from the show. It would have endeared him to every fan out there.