Florida game will teach Arizona plenty

Arizona head coach Sean Miller me with the media on Thursday to discuss the significance of the Florida game, what the Wildcats need to do to win, and much more.

Sean Miller is aware that Florida is the toughest challenge the Wildcats have had so far this season and believes that much of it is the Gators' ability to play as a team.

"I think the thing you learn about Florida is that there are a lot of matchups that are difficult," Miller said. "They are a true team in every sense of the world. 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 and that is because they play so well together both offensively and defensively. Both sides of the basketball feed off of each other."

While Miller knows of the challenges Florida presents, he believes that much of Arizona's success or failure on Saturday will be more about what the Wildcat are and are not able to do.

"I think in games like this, it is not really about Florida as it is so much about us," he said. "There is only so much that we can control in respect to Florida, but what we can control is our own performance.

"As we play against a press, taking care of the ball and being able to make good plays, taking advantage sometimes of the press. When they play zone, that we really attack that zone and get good shots and play with confidence and same thing against their man-to-man."

It is no coincidence that Arizona's close games have come when the Wildcats turn the ball over too much and Miller has a number of turnovers that he would like the UA come close to and finish under.

"Playing with 12 or fewer turnovers in this game is something I think we have to do to have a chance to win and they are really going to challenge our team in that area," he said.

The biggest advantage that Florida may have is that seven of the top eight scorers are either juniors or seniors.

"That is really their greatest advantage," Miller said. "I think the other thing to note with Florida is not only do they have great experience, they also have great experience in winning.

"They have several starters on this year's team that have played in back-to-back regional finals games and there is something to be said about playing on the big stage in the big games, playing late in March, that I think has a profound carry over in the future."

Miller will not deny that Saturday's game is a big one, but it may be for different reasons than some would quickly assume.

"This isn't a NCAA tournament game in March," he said. "This is a huge non-conference game for both teams because it represents a great opportunity and if we would be fortunate enough to win, we all know that beating a team like Florida has great meaning because of how good they are.

"Either way, I know that we are going to be better after the game and we are going to learn a lot about our team."


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