Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Gators Hoops May Go Where Zook Couldn't

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Gators Hoops May Go Where Zook Couldn't

Article excerpt

Byline: Gene Frenette, Times-Union sports writer

With more depth than an Olympic diving pool, Florida's basketball team looks as good as anybody out there not named Arizona. UF fans who had hopes dashed of going to New Orleans for the Sugar Bowl may have a better reason to be visiting the French Quarter in two months.

Billy Donovan's Gators are on a Final Four track, especially if slump-ridden Brett Nelson plays at or near the level that he displayed against LSU the rest of this season. This team is significantly ahead of where UF's 2000 NCAA runner-up team was at this stage.

A first or second-place finish in the brutal SEC East should get Florida a No. 1 or 2 seed in the Big Dance and a ticket to the NCAA regional in Tampa. . . .

What is it about the two-point conversion that causes football coaches to get brain lock? The Oakland Raiders' Bill Callahan foolishly went for two after his team scored a touchdown to get within 34-9 of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the Super Bowl. By missing the ensuing two-pointer, it forced Oakland to keep going for subsequent two-point PATs, all of which failed. So instead of trailing 34-24 midway through the fourth quarter, they were down 34-21. UF's Ron Zook made a similar miscalculation on a failed two-pointer against Michigan in the Outback Bowl. Here's a basic rule of thumb for coaches to follow on two-point conversions: stay away from it until the fourth quarter, even if your team is down by two points. Coaches often panic and go for it too early instead of weighing the consequences that failure brings them later on. . . .

For No. 1-ranked Arizona, beating Kansas 91-74 on the road last week wasn't as easy as taking candy from a baby. Maybe taking candy from a vending machine, but not a baby. . . . Should Indiana Pacers forward Ron Artest change his name to Ron Detest? …

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