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by user Popjones
That sigh of relief you might have heard during the second half of UCLA’s rout of LSU Saturday night was from CBS, who probably wanted no part of an all-Southeastern Conference final for the NCAA men’s basketball championship.
Especially after tournament-darling George Mason was eliminated by Florida in the first national semifinal. Instead we get Florida vs. UCLA for the championship, which should spur the LA market and bring much larger ratings than an all-Southern tilt.
Even thought Florida had already beaten LSU twice this season, a rematch of conference foes in the final doesn’t necessarily mean a dog of a game. The last time two conference mates met in the championship game, Kansas and Oklahoma in 1988, the game was a good one with the Danny Manning-led Jayhawks prevailing 83-79. And who could forget perhaps the biggest upset in a final, Villanova’s 66-64 win over Georgetown in 1985, an all-Big East classic?
The only other time two teams from the same conference met in the final was in 1976, which saw Indiana complete the last unbeaten season in major college basketball with an 86-68 blowout over Big Ten for Michigan.
But we won’t see any such thing this year. And the TV powers are smiling.
Sat 04/01/06, 8:59 pm EST