Date: Friday, Nov. 28, 2003
Time: 9 p.m. EST
Location: Springfield Civic Center (6,800), Springfield, Mass.
Radio: Wildcat Radio Network (Pete Solomon/Ryan Hansen)
TV: ESPN2 (Dan Shulman/Dick Vitale)
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Florida at a glance
Coach: Billy Donovan
Starters returning: 3
2002-03 Record:25-8 (12-4)
Last Meeting: Arizona edged the Gators 75-71 in the 2001 Coaches Vs. Cancer Classic.
LAST TIME OUT:Arizona beat NAU 107-73, while Florida crushed Montana State, 112-73. . OVERVIEW: This is a battle of two fast-breaking teams. Both the Gators and the Wildcats like to get up and down the floor. The challenge may be to see which team can outlast the other.
Donovan's teams are always athletic and aggressive. If the shots are falling they are tough to beat. Of course there are times when the shots don't fall, then they are very vulnerable. The offense is designed to score and they work hard to create good scoring opportunities.
"They want to get up and down the court and set a lot of screens," said Wildcat assistant coach Rodney Tention, who scouted the Gators.
The perimeter game is one of the best in the country. Anthony Roberson is an exciting score-first point guard who has the ability to take over a game with his scoring. Matt Walsh is another pure scorer who burst on the scene last season as a true freshman. Walsh is a terrific shooter and can provide match-up problems.
"Roberson and Walsh can both score in different ways," Tention said. "We have to do a job on defense and pressure the ball. They want to shoot threes and we have to take that away."
The Wildcats expect to see a lot of zone. Tention indicated that they could play a zone defense 80-90% of the time and the Cats have spent time in practice attacking the zone.
FLORIDA'S STRENGTHS: The Gators are very athletic and blessed with plenty of scorers. They have a lot of team speed and good shooters. Roberson and Walsh are two of the best sophomores in the nation. Fellow sophomore Christian Drejer is an excellent passing, 6-9 wing who creates a number of problems. Tention compares him to Luke Walton.
FlLORIDA'S WEAKNESSES: The Gators have a reputation of being soft. They lost big man Mario Boggan and have had to fill the void with young players. If the three-point shot is not falling the offense is not as effective.
BEST PLAYERS: Walsh and Roberson. They are both great scorers. If they are having good games the Gators are VERY tough to beat. Contain them and the Wildcats will likely win.
Frye will likely be facing a shorter, younger player
David Lee gets the edge here.
Walsh gets a slight nod over Iguodala who may wind up the better player
Stoudamire is just too good. He's due for a good game.
Roberson will see time at the two as well, but the soph. gets the nod over the frosh...for now.
OUTLOOK: This should be a fast-paced, highly entertaining game. Expect both teams to do a lot of running and scoring. This will be a good gauge as to where both of these teams are. One advantage for Arizona is the fact that they always play well in November.
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