2006 Final Four Preview

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2006 Final Four Preview and Pick ]]> include($base_url . “/includes/header.htm”); ?>

by Bob Acton of Sportingbet USA – now SuperBook.com –

The stage is set in Indianapolis and millions of Americans who did not even know where George Mason University was two weeks ago, will be able to give you a history lesson on the Northern Virginia school by the time the Patriots tipoff with Florida on Saturday.

On the other hand you have the LSU Tigers with all five starting players from Baton Rouge, Louisiana squaring off with the West Coast boys from Westwood of UCLA and Lord knows the state of Louisiana is ready for a celebration after the year they have endured at the mercy of Hurricane Katrina.

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Last weekend I sat here and spewed out all the reasons why George Mason’s impressive run would come to an end at the hands of the Wichita Shockers and needless to say I was left with egg on my face. Then on Sunday I was certain that my 4-1 pick Connecticut would finally shut the door on Cinderella, but again the Patriots stuck another fork in me.

Now it is just mere days away from the beginning of the Final Four and I am pleading with you folks to lay the six points and take the Florida Gators on Saturday against George Mason. I had suggested weeks before the tournament began that former tennis great Yannick Noah’s son Joakin Noah would introduce himself to the American public during the tournament. While much noise is being made about the Patriots, UCLA and LSU the Gators are a great story in themselves.

Florida lost its top three scorers, one of them a first-round pick in the NBA draft, and replaced them with a bunch of kids. They have four sophomores in the starting lineup and only one of whom did much of significance for the whole of last year. Look around the NCAA tournament, and it’s usually the veteran teams who stick around long enough to have a shot at something special.

Last year was supposed to be the Year of the Gator. David Lee, Anthony Roberson and Matt Walsh gave Florida impressive firepower, and the youngsters could provide some depth off the bench.

The three stars might have been one or two too many, though. The Gators lost to Villanova in the second round last year, exposed as more of a collection of good players than a true team.

This year’s group couldn’t be more different. Brewer was a prep All-American, but Noah, Al Horford and Taurean Green are often better known for their famous fathers than their games.

Last weekend they took care of a very experienced team in Villanova by 13 and they did so with their 3-point shooting ace Lee Humphrey having a horrible day going 2-9 outside the arc. Keep an eye on him as the Patriots will need to shutdown Noah and Brewer and Humphrey should have a big day.

Bob’s Pick: Florida by 12

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