With ‘Dunk City’ officially de-annexed from the tournament, and the State of Florida preserved as one of oranges and blue, there remains an after taste. One that is less sweet than the famous Florida fruit. One that, dare I say, tastes a bit like chicken.
Or maybe over-cooked Eagle?
For a solid week, the Gators, along with the basketball nation were force-fed an unhealthy avian diet. The media served endless heapings of Eagles coverage— sound bites, pep rallies, pictures of the coach’s wife (ok, that part wasn’t so bad), players’ stories, Cinderella cliches, images of lob-dunk after lob-dunk, suggestions of disrespect and more.
Much more. It went on ad nauseam —quite literally.
“We are tired of hearing about them,” Kenny Boynton said of an Eagle-induced malaise that had afflicted him by mid-week.
And he was not the only one with acute fowl salmonella. Florida message boards railed against basketball’s newest darlings, with fans irked by a profane chants and a moxy unbecoming of the tournament upstart.
“FGCU’S fans here are very few, but loud and obnoxious,” reported one Gator Country poster.
“We are playing a bunch of Marshall Hendersons,” griped another forum fan.
And speaking of Florida’s not-so-favorite villain, even he seemed to relish a Gators grounding of the Eagles.
“GATORCHOMPS ALL AROUND!!!,” he tweeted following Florida’s 62-50 victory.
Ahhh, yes— victory. And in this case, a remedy.
Cured, a healthy and happy Gator nation rejoiced… and tweeted.
“Gator Bait!,” offered Bradley Beal.
“All u FGCU bandwagoners can shut up and go to sleep,” posted Taurean Green .
“Just like 06 get Cinderella’s slipper and break it, that’s what gators do!!!!,” authored Corey Brewer.
“It’s great to be a Florida Gator! We run the State. And all you guys that were on the FGCU bandwagon be well,” tweeted Al Horford.
And though far more muted than fans— and even past players— the Gator teammates could not entirely restrain their enthusiasm.
“Very excited,” Kenny Boynton said, seemingly relieved to be once again talking about his team and not the opponent.
And though the media worked all week to hype that opponent, Scottie Wilbekin refused to concede anything special about the Gators victorious performance.
“I don’t think it’s that much of a statement because we have done it all year. We just played our defense. We didn’t do anything special,” Wilbekin coolly said following the game.
Not a statement?
Nope. And that, in itself was a commentary on Florida’s approach to the game— an approach that dismissed the distractions and eventually the opponent.
And Wilbekin did not stop there, suggesting his Gators dispatched ‘Dunk City’ with something far less than a solid outing.
“Overall it was not one of our best games. It was probably one of our worst games,” he revealed.
Isn’t that a bitter pill for the suddenly sickened Eagles?
And if that pill shouldn’t be taken on an empty stomach, fear not. The Eagles should have a side of crow ready for consumption. After all, it was the underdog Eagles who seemed oddly overconfident and, at times, over talkative.
“Here’s a team, I think, coming in here that said they were really not concerned about our defense at all because of Georgetown and San Diego State. And felt like they were going to be able to score against us,” Donovan reminded in the post game press conference.
And score they did— a season low 50 points.
Make that crow a double dose.
Don’t worry FGCU, from what I hear— it tastes like chicken. Or perhaps burnt eagle.