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Morning Briefing

Gators find they're low on the scale

March 29, 2007|Mike Penner | Times Staff Writer

Listen to Joakim Noah and the Florida Gators prattle on long enough about how "Everybody hates us" and you'll end up hating them for it.

Which is precisely what they want.

But why do so many people supposedly hate the Gators? Briefing has done the research, and offers its Top 10 Reasons for So Many Gators Haters:

1. The Gators are defending NCAA basketball champions. UCLA hates them for that.

2. The Gators are defending NCAA football champions. Ohio State hates them for that.

3. Gatorade was invented at the University of Florida. Powerade hates that.

4. In 1905, state legislators chose Gainesville as the site for the University of Florida, beating out Lake City and Bartow. Lake City and Bartow hate that.

5. The Gainesville-based ska-punk band Less Than Jake has produced a couple of Top 40 hits. Lesser-known ska-punk band Jake hates that.

6. Another Gainesville-based band, Against Me!, is starting to gain attention. Everybody is against Against Me!

7. University of Florida alumnus Robert Love is an open source developer known for his contributions to the Linux kernel. Lots of people hate the Linux kernel.

8. The Gators sent David Eckstein into professional baseball. Detroit Tigers fans hate them for that.

9. The Gators sent Rex Grossman into the NFL. Chicago Bears fans hate them for that.

10. The Gators' coach, Billy Donovan, is rumored to be leaving Florida for Kentucky after the Final Four, win or lose. University of Florida fans hate him for that.

Trivia time

Since blocked shots became an official statistic in 1986, which player holds the record for most blocks in a single NCAA basketball tournament?

Birds of a feather?

Florida senior forward-center Chris Richard gave Florida Today his take on the Gators-Hated theme.

"It's really tough every single game," Richard said. "People throw everything at us every time they play us. We just want it more than anybody else. We want to prove that we can win back-to-back championships. It's been a long time since it has happened [and] everyone is out to get us.

"Sometimes we think we're the Yankees, the Cardinals, the New England Patriots or the Dallas Cowboys."

Are the Cardinals really in the same Teams-We-Hate league as the Yankees, Patriots and Cowboys?

Chicago Cubs followers, no need to answer that one.

Trivia answer

Florida's Noah, who had 29 blocked shots during last year's tournament, breaking the old record of 24, set by Arizona's Loren Woods in 2001.

Good omen for Bruins

Many are calling this year's Florida-UCLA-Ohio State-Georgetown NCAA semifinal field a "dream Final Four." If that's true, why did so few dare to dream it?

CBS SportsLine.com reports that of the nearly 2.3 million brackets submitted for its Bracket Manager and Bracket Challenge products, approximately 200,000 predicted the correct Final Four -- representing less than 9%.

Of those approximate 200,000, 11% picked UCLA to win it all. The Bruins are running fourth in this department -- with 36% picking Florida to win the title, 32% picking Ohio State and 21% taking Georgetown.

Judging from the success of these bracketologists so far, look for the Bruins to defeat the Hoyas in Monday's championship game.

And finally

Ohio State football Coach Jim Tressel has a vested interest in this weekend's Final Four, although he told the Associated Press he stayed away from the brackets racket.

"I didn't fill out a bracket," he said. "There would have been only one team in my bracket, and it's still playing."

During the same interview, Tressel was asked what lessons he learned from his team's 41-14 loss to Florida in January's BCS title game.

"What do you want me to say?" Tressel said. "Depression?"

*

mike.penner@latimes.com

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