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2006 NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament

Gator glory

Florida bites Bruins for first hoops title

Game, set, match - and a championship, too - for Joakim Noah and the Florida Gators. The tennis star's son dominated UCLA with 16 points, nine rebounds and a record six blocks Monday night to key a 73-57 blowout that gave Florida its first national title in basketball and officially wiped away its reputation as only a football school.

Noah simply dominant

Florida center does it all in star-making victory

Ponytail power. Every kid in America might want to toss away those oh-so-yesterday headbands, grow out the dreadlocks and tie their hair back in a large bun. Forget about Kobe, LeBron, A.I. and Nash.

Tale of the tape: Florida vs. UCLA

Gators (32-6) vs. Bruins (32-6)

Storied finalists to clash for first time

Florida, UCLA - programs on the rise with powerful histories - are testaments to dynasties of the past and parity of the present

UCLA had Bill Walton, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and all those championship banners. Florida had Vernon Maxwell and Norm Sloan.

This UCLA team unlike the rest

The 2006 Bruins winning with defense, and that wasn't the case with past championship teams

John Wooden's teams scored 100 points or more 88 times. That could be the UCLA you know - the hook shots of Lew Alcindor (before he became Kareem Abdul-Jabbar), the bank shots of Bill Walton, the silky-smooth jump shots of Keith Wilkes (later Jamaal Wilkes), the long left-handed ones of Gail Goodrich, the swoops to the hoop of Marques Johnson.

Patriots' dream derailed

Lee Humphrey lingered outside the arc, determined to keep on shooting. Swish. Swish. And make it three.

Commentary: Patriots' fairy tale up in smoke

George Mason awoke Saturday night and became George Mason again.

Slipper time

Cinderella Geo. Mason set to battle red-hot UF

Before the madness began, before the world came calling to their campus, hardly anyone outside of Fairfax, Va., knew anything about George Mason's Patriots.

NCAA tourney has room for more

Sixty-five teams not enough in today's era of competitive balance in college basketball

He is not calling for a revolution or even suggesting major surgery. He is not asking for an all-comers free skate or even proposing a major increase in the number of participants. But Syracuse coach Jim Boeheim does want the NCAA Tournament field expanded.

Self likes Florida to win title

With zero No. 1 seeds in the field for the first time in 26 years, this year's Final Four truly is up for grabs.

Fans, prepare for slogfest

Tigers, Bruins concentrate on defense foremost

Baby blue is their color. Black and blue is their attitude. At some point early in coach Ben Howland's tenure on the West Coast, the UCLA Bruins woke up and realized they looked more like bruisers than a bunch of SoCal softies.

Study in contrasts

Final Four head coaches, teams took different paths to big stage

George Mason coach Jim Larranaga and Florida's Billy Donovan, his counterpart on the other bench in Saturday's first Final Four matchup in the RCA Dome, both played college basketball at Providence College.

Hard way OK for Sampson

Coach took tough but lesser-talented players at OU

Kelvin Sampson's success at Oklahoma was never much about flash. A denim-shirt sort of guy, it never took long for Sampson to shed his sportcoat on the Sooners' sideline.

Brand touts progress

Despite some poor academic rates, NCAA head encouraged

No school could match the postseason success of Florida, George Mason, LSU or UCLA on the basketball court. The classroom marks of those teams weren't as tough to beat.

Young teams could be trend

The three big-name teams at this year's Final Four start a combined four freshmen and seven sophomores.

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