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#tbt – Remembering Florida Basketball’s Greatness

Over the course of this offseason we will use Thursday to look back at various events, games, players, anything you want. Think of it as #tbt for Today’sU.com. Some of these will be first-hand accounts or just a rambling about the good ‘ole past. Follow me @uklefty22 for all #tbt posts as well as other ones throughout the week.


 

We’ll never see something like that again.

That being the 2005-06 and 2006-07 Florida Gators team, which won back-to-back national championships. Arguably the most forgotten about great teams in recent memory.

The team comprised of the core group of Joakim Noah, Al Horford, Corey Brewer, Lee Humphrey and Taurean Green went 68-11 in two years while winning back-to-back national championships. We may never see a school win back-to-back national titles again, let alone with the same group of guys.

After the team started the season unranked in 2005, they ran through the nonconference schedule undefeated, with wins over No. 18 Wake Forest and No. 16 Syracuse in Madison Square Garden. After winning the SEC, the 2005-06 version of the Gators had a fairly easy run to the national title, with just one victory being in single-digits, a four point win over Georgetown in the Sweet 16.

11 February 2006:  Florida's Joakim Noah goes up for a shot during the Florida Gators game against the LSU Tigers at the O'Connell Center in Gainesville, FL.

Joakim Noah led a lethal front court that propelled Florida to back-to-back national titles.

Then the unthinkable happened.

They all returned. Every single starter. Every single player besides Adrian Moss, who had to leave because of graduation. What followed was a preseason No. 1 ranking before losing five games in the regular season. However, once the postseason rolled around, Florida turned it on again as a No. 1 seed to win its second title.

All five starters averaged double-digits in points while Lee Humphrey – the lone senior of the five – shot a ridiculous 46 percent from deep. What might be even more impressive is they outscored SEC opponents by 17.5 points per game and shot over 52 percent from the field as a team.

Three of the five starters are still making noise in the NBA, with Noah and Horford as full-on stars at the next level, while Brewer is an important role player on the Houston Rockets. However, it was the floor general in Taurean Green that held this team together. He was the lowest rated coming out of high school of the Oh-Fours as they called themselves. But, he was also the reason the other three returned for another year. On the floor he averaged over 13 points and four assists a game, getting his teammates involved whenever he could.

The Florida Gators won’t grade out as the best team of the decade, but just remember you’ll never see five guys win back-to-back titles ever again.

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