The Back Nine comes at you after a weekend that had a little bit of everything.
10. There were a lot of people poised to Tweet out how the women’s Final Four was blowing away the men’s Final Four after those two amazing women’s games and Baylor’s blowout of Houston Saturday. Then, it happened – one of the most incredible games and endings in sports history. Jalen Suggs opened the bank and set up what we hope will be a tremendous game tonight to close out the basketball season. I’m a big believer that you have to let a game like Gonzaga-UCLA ferment a little before declaring it the greatest game in the history of history, so I will let you know in a week or so. But that was unbelievable. There was a point where I thought UCLA was going to be the new Villanova, which made everything in its monumental upset of Georgetown back in 1985. And then the craziness of the overtime made the game even better. I mean, I almost forgot that Gonzaga kept its perfect season going, that’s how great the game was.
11. I can’t help but wonder this – which fan base was less happy watching that game – Florida’s or Kentucky’s? To see what Andrew Nembhard did when Florida had a season without an efficient point guard or to watch the amazing finish to a spectacular tournament by former Wildcat Johnny Juzang after Kentucky had a historically bad season? Just curious. And it is important to note that the women’s final on Sunday was more high drama with Stanford winning by a point.
12. You know what I’m upset about? That I knew what we were going to get in the NCAA Tournament and then filled out my bracket that went a totally different direction. I think I am in 6 millionth place as a result. I had a feeling we’d see a lot of upsets early and it was all about picking the right ones. But then we would end up with the championship game we were all hoping for. Which is exactly what happened. And like a dummy, I had an Alabama-Arkansas final. Always go with your first instincts.
13. Heck of an effort by Florida’s gymnastics team to qualify for the NCAA finals in Fort Worth. But let’s also congratulate a men’s tennis team, which clinched an SEC title and gave UF its 250th SEC title. Florida is the all-everything school, especially when you consider that Tennessee is second with 156.
14. I don’t know how big a series win that was for the Florida baseball team this weekend. All I know is how big it feels today. Changing up the rotation worked well enough to take two of three from the No. 3 team in America. This team still strikes out too much (18 times on Friday night), but it’s tough in this league. We’ve said it many times that – because of players getting to come back for an extra year and because there were only five rounds of the draft – this will likely be the best college baseball has ever been. And if that’s true (I just said it was), Florida is playing in such a difficult conference that every weekend is going to be a challenge. So, try to enjoy a series win over Ole Miss.
15. My friend Mike Bianchi wrote a column over the weekend that said pretty much what I have been saying with Jeff Cardozo on The Tailgate about Mike White. It was also interesting that Scott Stricklin came out last week and said what he said to me a month ago, that White will be the coach here for a long time. But neither of those things is going to change the way some people feel. It’s part of any fan base to have people on both sides of the fence if you’re not going to multiple Final Fours. It’s better for the Gator program to support White and the players than it is to be so negative. But it’s a lot like politics. Minds are rarely changed.
16. It’s Masters week, so I am obligated to make my pick so you will all know who will not win the green jacket. It’s difficult to pick against Jordan Spieth, who plays the course so well and should already have several jackets instead of just one and broke a four-year PGA Tour win drought on Sunday. But since I’d love to see him win (not that I am rooting for anybody more than my man Billy Horschel), I am not going to pick Spieth because it will jinx him (I have a track record). So, I am going to pick Bryson DeChambeau to win his second major. That’ll teach him.
17. So great that Becky Burleigh could go out with a win. She is one of my favorites to ever coach here. She joked with me that I started a trend by retiring and she also plans to be working. Just not as much as I am. She wins.
18. For the “Florida Four” this week, we bring you this interesting tidbit – the fourth round of the NFL Draft. It has been good to the Gators in this way – Florida has had a player taken in the fourth round for nine consecutive years. I’m not saying it means anything, just that it is slightly interesting. The best of those draft picks? It might be Demarcus Robinson, who has a Super Bowl ring. La’Mical Perine was also a fourth-round pick as were Antonio Callaway. Max Garcia, Jaye Howard and Jaylen Watkins. So, there is that.