Think about where the Florida Gators are at this very moment. The basketball Gators have a chance to become only the seventh team in NCAA history to win back-to-back titles, and the only one in history to do it with the same starting five as the year before. I still contend that this team is not transcendently good, but it is about to undertake a transcendently good achievement. Yet even with that, it still seems that the vast majority of Florida Gators fans only care a little bit. Here at the week of a repeat Final Four appearance, knowing that the coach is considering leaving to go to an in-conference rival and needing to put on your best appearance…..the Florida crowd in Atlanta was described to me by a national media member as “good, but by no means great.” The local newspapers all week have been talking about Tim Tebow more than Corey Brewer and the majority of Florida fans still look at basketball as the cute little cousin who shunned major sports and is a great violin player…..its nice, but its not worth really caring about.
No one knows for sure what will happen this week. Billy D will likely listen to the Cats’ offer and will consider taking the job at the “Roman Empire of college basketball.” Kentucky and Florida fans will hold their breath and the hottest college basketball coach in America will make what certainly will be a difficult decision. But in reality, this shouldnt even be an issue. Billy Donovan is about to give Florida its SECOND TITLE in two years……the Gators are now a top tier program, solely due to the work of Donovan, and Billy has the program set up to win more titles in the coming years. He shouldnt even have to consider leaving…..the money will be the same, the facilities are close enough and the recruiting base is similar if not better. Leaving Florida should not even be a possibility.
But he is going to consider it…..and there is only one reason why, the Kentucky fan base is passionate and the Florida fan base is a dead fish. Pat Forde reported a few weeks ago that Florida had only sold out one non-conference game at home (in its 13,000 seat arena) in its two championship years. 500 people went to the first round games at the NCAA Tournament…..a crowd that is less than EASTERN KENTUCKY brought to its game in Winston Salem. The fans simply dont care…..and it doesnt matter if you are Knute Rockne, if the fans arent going to appreciate it. Right now, the Gators are on the verge of making history and becoming a consistent top 5 program for years to come……a feat that is extremely rare in modern college sports. Yet the Gators fans would rather debate what Urban Meyer should be eating for lunch than supporting their basketball team. If Billy D signs on the dotted line in Lexington next week, it is that attitude that will have pushed him here.