Florida has been a more complete team since Wilbekin came back, although he has been a bit inconsistent. Wilbekin is not a guy to take a lot of shots, although he has the talent to score, as shown by his 17 points against UCF. Against Arizona, we expect him to be more of a play maker and player that hounds Arizona on defense. He averages nearly three steals per game on defense and does not turn the ball over much. This is difficult to choose because Lyons is the better offensive player, but Wilbekin is the better point guard. We will go with potential here, but it would not surprise us to see this closer to an even matchup.
SG: Nick Johnson (6-3, 200, So.) vs. Kenny Boynton (6-2, 190, Sr.)
When Boynton gets going, there aren't many players in the country that are better scorers. However, he does have a tendency to be a bit wild at times, as shown by his heavy reliance on three-pointers. Still, he is probably a bit more dangerous than Johnson, although Johnson is strong in his own right. We don't see either player having a huge advantage here, but with McKale being known as a shooter's gym and Boynton being a shooter, it makes sense to give him the slight advantage here.
SF: Solomon Hill (6-7, 220, Sr.) vs. Will Yeguete (6-7, 240, Jr.)
Yeguete is easily one of Florida's best rebounders, averaging a little above seven rebounds per game. His scoring potential is not very high, but he is very similar to Hill in that he excels near the basket and does a little bit of everything. Yeguete only takes about four shots per game, but he is able to get some baskets off of rebounds. Hill is the better player here, but he absolutely needs to keep Yeguete off the glass or else it could be a long night for him.
PF: Brandon Ashley (6-8, 235, Fr.) vs. Erik Murphy (6-10, 238, Sr.)
Ashley is going to have work cut out for him defensively, as Murphy will come off of screens and be able to stretch Arizona's defense more than any power forward Arizona has faced this season. Offensively, Ashley actually may be able to score at a decent rate, but his goal will be to contain Murphy on defense. Murphy's experience gives him the advantage here, but it will be interesting to see what kind of game Ashley is able to have.
C: Kaleb Tarczewski (7-0, 255, Fr.) vs. Patric Young (6-9, 249, Jr.)
This is an extremely tough matchup for Tarczewski because Young is not only athletic, but a monster rebounder as well. Young averages eight rebounds per game and a handful of them come on the offensive glass, which not only extends possessions, but also can lead to automatic points. Young's athleticism is going to be difficult for Tarczewski, so Tarc is going to have to make sure he is as physical as possible without finding himself in quick foul trouble. We would be surprised if Young matched his point total from last year's game, but he is definitely going to have a major impact Saturday.
Bench: Florida actually is not a deep team, but does have talen in its first few players off the bench. There is a good chance that Mike Rosario will come off the bench along with Casey Prather and Michael Frazier. The Gators do not have a lot of size off the bench, which could work in Arizona's favor if it gets a player in foul trouble. Frazier can be a very strong shooter at times, so Arizona will need to keep him close. Arizona has more talent coming off of its bench, but Rosario and Frazier are talented. The difference here could be Grant Jerrett's play, as a solid performance will help Arizona in a big way.
Coaching: Sean Miller vs. Billy Donovan
There is no doubting Donovan's success and although there has been some inconsistency, he is one of the best coaches in the country. The reality of this game is that it will likely not be won on coaching. Both coaches will likely have solid strategies in place, making it more up to the players to win or lose the game.
Prediction: This game will come down to how Arizona's offense does, the amount of turnovers, and rebounding. When Sean Miller said it is more about what Arizona is able to do than what Florida does, he was right. If Arizona is not executing at a high level, it is not going to win this game. If it has big lapses, it is not going to win this game. Florida has not trailed past the five minute mark of any game this season, so it is intriguing to see how the Gators do in a close game. The guess here is that they will do just fine due to their experience and the difference here will be Florida's defense, which has been exceptional this season. Arizona is going to give the Gators a heck of a game, but Florida will make a few more plays to win.
Florida 76, Arizona 71