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Basketball Powers Florida and UCLA Battle for Men's College Title


The 65-team U.S. men's college basketball championship tournament is down to the two final schools. Florida and UCLA (University of California at Los Angeles) will play Monday in Indianapolis, Indiana for the title.

Defense is what has led both Florida and UCLA to the championship game. Florida wrote the ending of the tournament's Cinderella story, beating George Mason on Saturday, 73-58. UCLA clamped shut an explosive Louisiana State University team in the other semifinal, 59-45.

In the final pre-game press conference on Sunday, Florida coach Billy Donovan outlined what he would like his team to do as it tries to win the school's first NCAA basketball championship.

"Every team practices what they do offensively every single day," said Billy Donovan. "And because they practice what they do, over the course of the season they become very good at whet they run. My philosophy defensively is to try to take teams out of what they practice every single day, trying to do things to disrupt the course or the flow of a game."

UCLA has a record 11 national basketball championships. Their last title came in 1995. Although the team's offensive performances have been sporadic, its defense has strangled opponents to the point where UCLA often does not need to score a lot of points to win.

So it is no surprise the defensive minded Donovan has a keen admiration for UCLA's style.

"They like to take you out of what you want to do," he said. "They are very, very physical. The biggest thing to me that I love about their defense is they are a great help team. They really rotate to each other, they really help each other. And I think they will be as good as a defensive team as we have played all year."

As for the players, Florida sophomore forward Joakim Noah says they are just enjoying the opportunity to play in the last game of the season.

"We are just soaking it in and enjoying every moment," said Joakim Noah. "And at the end of the day, it is all about playing basketball. And that is what we love to do."

Florida reached the championship game once before. The team lost on the same Indianapolis court to Michigan State in 2000.

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