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NOTES

Winning Margin Biggest Since '92

April 04, 2006|From Times Staff Reports

Florida's 16-point victory Monday was the largest margin in an NCAA championship game since 1992, when Duke defeated Michigan, 71-51.

"I never could have imagined that we were going to win by this big of a margin," guard Corey Brewer said.

"All Saturday and Sunday, all anyone talked about was UCLA's great defense. They didn't respect our defense, but if you look at the stats, we had the better defense and we proved tonight we had the better defense."

Florida's margin of victory was an average performance based on what it did throughout the tournament. The Gators won their six games by an average of 16 points.

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Florida and Joakim Noah held a block party against the Bruins.

The Gators set a title-game record with 10 blocks, led by Noah, who established an individual mark with six. Noah also had a record 29 blocks in the six tournament games.

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This could have been the problem: After the game, forward Lorenzo Mata said UCLA players had been told by their coaches to "shot fake."

Over in the opposing locker room, center Al Horford told reporters, "We knew they were going to pump fake a lot so we had to stay on the ground and challenge at the end."

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Florida became the eighth Division I school to have won a national championship in football and basketball. The Gator football team won its title in the 1996 season.

UCLA also has football and basketball titles.

The Bruins own a record 11 basketball titles and shared the 1954 football title with Ohio State, when UCLA was deemed champion by what was then the United Press International coaches' poll and the Buckeyes were the choice of the Associated Press sportswriters' rankings.

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Indiana may have produced John Wooden for the Bruins, but the state capital hasn't been good to them.

UCLA is 11-2 in NCAA title games -- both losses in Indianapolis. The Bruins' other loss came in 1980 against Louisville, 59-54, at Market Square Arena.

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UCLA is scheduled to return to Los Angeles by chartered plane today, landing around noon.

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Severe weather hammered Indiana and several other Midwestern states Sunday night, but most UCLA players weren't aware how dangerous it was until Monday morning.

As tornado sirens sounded throughout the city around 9:30 p.m., the Bruins were in a room on the first floor in their suburban hotel, meeting to go over film and then having a team snack.

A school spokesman said that while other hotel guests were asked to come down to rooms on the same floor, UCLA officials decided to have the players stay put.

According to the national weather service, winds of up to 100 mph hit the downtown area, damaging several buildings, including a high-rise bank building not far from the RCA Dome that had windows ripped out on several floors.

At least 63 tornadoes struck eight Midwestern states and there were several reported cloud-to-ground lightning strikes in mid-Indiana, the weather service said, but for the team it was business as usual.

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The Pacific 10 Conference will earn about $14,267,000 from the performance in this year's NCAA men's basketball tournament. Each of the 10 conference schools will receive about $1.4 million earned by the performance of UCLA, Washington, Arizona and California.

According to the NCAA's formula, each conference receives one unit of payment -- worth about $140,000 per unit -- for each game its teams play. With Cal going 0-1, Arizona 1-1, Washington 2-1 and UCLA 5-0 before Monday, the conference schools will receive 11 units this season. Conferences do not receive an extra unit for winning the national championship game.

The money is paid out over six years and this year's total replaces the 2000 performance when the Pac-10 earned eight units.

The NCAA parcels the money out over the six years so if a conference has a particularly bad single season the lost revenue is spread out more evenly. The Pac-10 will need a stellar NCAA performance by its teams if it is to improve next season, though.

In 2001, the year UCLA went to the Sweet 16, USC and Stanford to the Elite Eight and Arizona to the national championship game, the conference earned 17 units. The revenue per unit varies by the amount of money the NCAA earns from sponsorships, advertising and ticket sales.

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USC football and UCLA basketball are back?

Well sort of. The flagship programs of each school each made it to this year's national title game before losing.

In football, No. 2 Texas defeated No. 1 USC in the Rose Bowl, 41-38, and Florida defeated UCLA in Monday night's basketball title game, 73-57.

Has there ever been a time when both programs won the national title in the same calendar year?

Yes, in 1967 and 1972.

USC, of course, was coached by John McKay both seasons and UCLA basketball was coached by Wooden.

There were a few close misses.

USC won a national title in 1974, but Wooden's Bruins that year lost in the NCAA national semifinals to North Carolina State.

USC won in football in 1962 but UCLA lost to Cincinnati in the NCAA semifinal round.

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Florida finished with an 11-game winning streak in which they held opponents to 59.4 points per game. The high was 71 against Arkansas and the low was 47 against South Carolina.

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At 40, Florida Coach Billy Donovan becomes the second youngest among active coaches to win a national title behind Bob Knight (who was 35 in 1976).

Donovan becomes the third person to play in the Final Four (for Providence in 1987) and then win the championship as a coach. The other two were Knight and Dean Smith.

Staff writers Mike Hiserman, Diane Pucin, Robyn Norwood, Steve Springer and Chris Dufresne contributed to this report.

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