UNC lost to
Florida in the semifinals tonight, pretty much going through what Duke,
Illinois, and Oklahoma State found out - keeping up with these guys isn't
easy.Â By the end of the game UNC had the same looks that the other teams
have had - Jason Capel could barely get across halfcourt at one point.
For Florida, things are likely to be a bit more difficult against Michigan
State. For one thing, they are a fairly deep team as well, with nine guys getting serious minutes against Wisconsin. For another, it's a mature team,
and one which has been through a great deal. And for another, the Spartans are
quite athletic, excellent rebounders, and most importantly, superb
defensively.Â What we've noticed about Florida is this, and it's not
exactly genius insight, but here goes: if your defense is better than theirs,
and you make them attack in a more orthodox way offensively, they're a bit
stymied. There's perhaps no one better in the tournament, Temple possibly
excepted, for doing that than Michigan State.
For their part, Florida has won a lot of credibility by defeating Illinois,
Duke, Oklahoma State and now UNC.Â Those aren't patsies. Michigan State, we
think, will be tougher, but we wouldn't rule it out as a possibility.Â
Finally, a word for Gut's Heels.Â There were a lot of people who never
thought they could do this, us included, when the tourney started. They showed a
lot of heart and character, and while they lost tonight, they didn't quit.
Earlier in the year, they seemed to at times, but they put that in the past. We
hope some of Gut's critics will give him credit for turning this ship around,
but somehow we're not holding our breath.