Florida beats Ohio State to win back-to-back NCAA Tournament titles, staking its claim as one of the best college teams ever. (Perhaps THE best. At least they're in the argument.)
And certainly this starting five should go down as college hoops' greatest ever. (Not to diminish the efforts of having a spectacular bench. Chris Richard will play in the NBA.)
I think what makes it most special is the era they did it in: Bridging the gap between the "post-KG Era" of NBA early-entry and the new "post-Oden Era" of mandatory college P.T.
Florida's three biggest stars all could have gone pro a year ago after the first title; they gave up the NBA millions in the short term for the chance to come back to school and make history. And they did.
You can hate Joakim. You can hate Florida. You can hate UF's run of titles in hoops and football. But if you love college hoops, you have to appreciate what this group chose to do -- and did.
The stars can go pro knowing they have created a new standard not just for Florida or the NCAA Tournament, but in the sport. The seniors can move on to whatever is next for them. The remaining players have learned how champions perform. Billy Donovan can do whatever he wants (though I'll sincerely be surprised if he leaves for Kentucky). This unique mini-dynasty ends particularly neatly.
Meanwhile, in the Daily Quickie Readers pool, congrats to J. Mills, who won the Daily Quickie Readers group this year. (I finished in the respectable 83.3st percentile, ironically exactly the same as if I'd used the National Bracket.)
My 10-month-old finished in sole possession of 18th -- out of more than 1,200. I'm not sure I'll ever be more proud.
In the end, what a great night for the Gators -- and Gators fans. Beaming as "One Shining Moment" ended, my wife reminded me that while it's nice I've been a Florida fan for the five years I've known her, she's been a Gators fan for her entire life -- basketball even more than football. I like to boast that my fandom today is as strong as any lifer's, but I found myself envious of her lifetime of passion for the team and pride for what they just accomplished. It DID mean more to her.
And she's right: It's more than a title this time. It's history.