SG – Matt Walsh. Oh Matt. We wanted to love you so bad, but alas it was not to be. Gator fans hated you almost as much as opposing fans did. It’s pretty hard to screw up being the scrappy white guy with the floppy hair, but you did it.
First, your dad pissed us all off. For those of you that don’t remember, Mr. Walsh was a screenwriter and proclaimed that his son’s story was so good that he could write a movie about it. The only problem is that no one would believe it. What did Matt do that was so wonderful? Did he overcome cancer like UT’s Chris Lofton? Did he overcome autism to score 20 points in the waning minutes of a high school game like Jason McElwain? No, Matt scored 26 points in the first game of his college career, at home, against Louisiana Tech. Big whoop-ti-do. Nothing screenworthy to be found.
But we don’t blame Matt for that. Nor do we blame him when he started dating a playmate. Dick Vitale and all the other announcers loved that storyline and drove it into the ground every time the team was on tv. In fact, the entire Matt Walsh scenario would replay itself just two years later when announcers feigned over a crazy haired player name Joakim Noah. The only difference was that their story of choice was Noah’s famous lineage instead of his famous girlfriend. Opposing fans hated both players with a passion, but we defended them because they were our own. The last similarity is that both players left UF after their junior seasons.
The big difference between the two and the reason why we love Noah and hate Walsh? Noah won two national titles before leaving. Walsh just led us to yearly disappointment. Walsh never got past the first weekend of the NCAA tournament. He and Peep Roberson were the shooting stars on teams that had Noah, David Lee, Al Horford, and Matt Bonner as big men. All of whom are doing well in the NBA right now. Walsh left early and did not even get drafted. Rumors started circulating that Billy Donovan was in trouble at Florida because his teams annually choked in the postseason. Matt Walsh’s final game as a Gator produced 4-13 shooting, 4 TOs, and he fouled out. We wanted to love you Matt, but you never lived up to the promise of your first night on the team.
So on that note, we are picking the Gators to cover as 3.5 point favorites at home over Vanderbilt. Vandy is ranked 23/24 right now and like all the other SEC teams, they are a fraud. The Gators play well after a loss and I like them to win this one by 5-6 at home. I expect a bounce back game at the free throw line and the jump in makes at the line will be the difference in winning this one by 2-3 and winning by 5-6. I also like the over once again. Vegas is starting to catch on to this team and has raised it to 139. This game should get both teams to the 70s and the Gators will make up for the bad beat under they took on Saturday.