Arizona, Florida ready for top 10 battle
by David Jones, USA TODAY Sports
Arizona and Florida are two teams that probably not a lot of people penciled into their choices for a Final Four berth in March.
Is either really that good?
It’ll take a while to figure that one out. But when the Gators and Wildcats meet at 10 p.m. today in Tucson, both are in the top 10 in the national rankings and both are undefeated with 7-0 records. So it’s a chance for some early answers.
Arizona coach Sean Miller calls it a game of 40 minutes of concentration. The eighth-ranked Wildcats, who lost 78-72 in overtime last year at Florida, are averaging 15 turnovers a game while the fifth-ranked Gators rank second nationally in scoring defense, allowing just over 48 points a game, and are forcing opponents to turn it over 17 times an outing.
“There are a lot of matchups that are difficult,” Miller said of Florida. “They are a true team in every sense of the word. Although they have individually talented players at all five positions, to me when you put them all together they are a much better team than even their individual parts indicate.
“That’s because they play so well together both offensively and also defensively. They change, they press, they play zone, they play man. But they do all of it well and they do it with great intensity and they force your team to take care of the ball. Turnovers against Florida lead to transition baskets and opportunities and that’s really where they thrive.”
UF coach Billy Donovan sees his own challenges.
“I think definitely you always learn something from your team every game you’re playing,” he said. “No different from this one, obviously it’s our second true road game, playing against a very, very talented and gifted team. A team that’s got tremendous experience on the perimeter and a lot of very, very talented new, young guys. So I definitely think you find out a lot more about your team coming out of a road game, traveling across the country against a very, very good team.”
Donovan doesn’t put a whole lot of thought towards rankings — although this … [For more on Arizona, Florida ready for top 10 battle, click here.]