I was both right and wrong as regards my prediction of the outcome of the Midwest regional final match between the Gators and the Ducks. First, the Gators prevailed, 85-77. But on the flip side as evident from the scoreline, the Gators did not win big. But a win is a win.
Another conclusion from the game is that size does matter, at least in basketball. And the two blocks by the Gators’ big men in the second half are the definitive statements of that. First, the block by Big Al on a Brooks' layup, and Al got the ball too, while going airborne out of bound, and had the presence of mind to throw it to his team-mate before he landed outside the court.
Then, in the dying seconds, Corey Brewer made another spectacular block that really sealed the fate of the Ducks.
However, the day belongs to Lee Humphrey, my namesake. I had a premonition of that early in the second half when Lee Humphrey, who is known for his 3-pointer prowess, got a steal and scored on a layup. This happened at 6:30 left in the first half.
Then Lee’s ferocious back-spinning 3-pointer attempt, also in the first half, tore through the net, literally. The game was suspended for about 10 minutes for the net to be replaced, putting the technician on national TV, probably his first time.
At the end, Lee got seven 3-pointers, out of 12. And Tajuan Porter, the diminutive guard of the Ducks that practically demolished the Running Rebels two days before, was practically helpless against Taurean Green of the Gators because of the height disparity. Offensively, he only had 2 points in the first half. What a fortune reversal. But I think he would learn his lessons well.
During the half-time commentary, the hosts brought up a term, spurtability, it being, I guess, the ability to score in spurts. But what sustains a team is the ability to play consistently at both ends of the court, and keeping a cool head under pressure. I think several shot selections by the Ducks in the last few minutes of the game bear testimony to the team losing their cool, shooting blank with their two 3-pointer attempts.
As for my projection of the Gators being due for winning big, today’s result is only delaying the inevitable. That means the Bruins is in for a rude awakening, psyching themselves up for revenge after their lop-sided loss last year to the Gators, despite a convincing win against the Jayhawks.
If only North Carolina defeats Georgetown in the remaining regional final that is ongoing now, then my selection of the Final Four makeup would be complete.