Next up, the Gators flew to Memphis for their fourth straight trip to the Sweet 16 and Elite Eight. They faced off against UCLA then Dayton to finally reach the Final Four.
Dayton, by the way, won my award for best fans and band. They filled the FedEx Forum for both games and easily made it a home game for the Flyers. Pretty impressive. The Stanford band should be mentioned too… but mostly for their tree mascot and cowbell player.
Memphis is a cool town. We were able to walk around and try tons of good food. Easily the best food of the trip came in Memphis. The hotel we were at is right across from the Gibson guitar factory. And the hotel let us check out guitars to keep in the room. I don’t play one bit, but I still tried to jam a little. The Sun’s columnist, Pat Dooley, plays a little and joined me in the room the first night and tried to teach me some cords.
The games were good, and went like many of the UF games had gone all year. Just keep the opposing team at arm’s length and grind out a solid win. In the Dayton game, Scottie hit a three at the buzzer of the first half. That gave UF some great momentum going into halftime and, more importantly, made for a couple great photos of the senior.
Laura’s been saying we need to go to a Dayton game one of these days. Well, it’s gone from “sure, one of these days we’ll go.” To “When’s their next home game? I want to go.” Those fans were fun. GOOOOOOOOO Dayton Flyyyyyyers! I even have a Flyers t-shirt now so I can fit right in.
But the big news out of Memphis is that the Gators finally reached the Final Four. The Florida basketball team and I have been to three Elite Eight games in a row. I’m sure the team wanted to reach the Final Four, but I’d bet my desire to shoot the event was just as big as their’s was to play in it.
The Peabody Hotel ducks were fun to watch, Memphis-style BBQ is awesome but doesn’t top KC, old ladies from Dayton sure can have fun before a game and, of course, more net cutting. The players said in the locker room that the only difference between the three nets was the scissors. Gold scissors in Memphis, trainer scissors for ankle tape in Atlanta and dull craft scissors in Gainesville.