ROYSJ Update: Not surprisingly, the much-anticipated inagural Big Man Confrontation of the fledgling 2006 college basketball season didn’t live up to the hype. Florida thumped OSU 86-60 ON Saturday and neither frosh phenom Greg Oden nor young-idol Joakim Noah was even the biggest Big Man. That was Gator junior Al Horford, the 6-10 Dominican who returned from an ankle injury, had 11 points and 11 rebounds and was primarily responsible for holding Oden to a pedestrian 7 and 7. Noah had 7 points and 9 rebounds, and remained the Gators emotional fire. But write this down: They will meet again.
ORIGINAL POST: That collective sigh you hear emanates from Joakim Noah ‘s adoring throng, which learned today that the University of Florida hunk does not have mono like his team/roommate, Corey Brewer . Instead, the Gator center just has an upper respiratory infection.
The Gators captured hearts last April when they surged to the NCAA title then decided to return to school for another season rather than bolt for the NBA. Understandably they started the season at No. 1. Even more understandably, they haven’t stayed there.
Florida was stymied last week by Kansas now stand at No. 4 in the national rankings with a 7-1 record.
The loss was probably a good thing. No talk of going undefeated (See: Indianapolis Colts, Rutgers, etc) to distract from the real goal: a second straight NCAA title.
As much as college football regular season is OVER-weighted (a loss in early October can end a team’s national title hopes), the college hoops regular season is all but a meaningless exhibition season in preparation for March Madness. Let’s face it, your kids could probably name 45 of the 65 teams that’ll make the NCAA tournament. Maybe even more. Sure there’ll be some surprises but big programs and big conferences dominate and mid-majors are getting more due each season.
Then the real season begins. Six games. Win or go back to class.
Sure there’ll be some great games. And there are some great story-lines to follow. (i.e., Can Ohio State become first school to win national titles in football and basketball in the same season? Can Tubby Smith keep his job?) But let’s be real.
Call me in March.
Gamer: Joakim Noah (But Baller, in training)