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The Gators are building an elite program in Gainesville. Billy Donovan has managed to stockpiled talent despite having a fair share of players leave early. Florida took a big hit when guard Teddy Dupay was dismissed from the squad for his associations with gamblers. Despite his loss, the Gators still have Brett Nelson and Justin Hamilton. Both can handle the ball and give the Gators two point guards on the floor at the same time,
The frontcourt looks to be solid as well. Udonis Haslem and Matt Bonner are both solid scorers and rebounders, combining to average over 30 points and 15 rebounds a contest. Kwame Brown would have been here, but decided to become the first overall pick in the NBA draft. Despite losing Brown the Gators bring in one of the top recruiting classes in the nation, including David Lee, Adrian Moss and James White.
The Gators have national championship talent, but that has been true of the past few Gator clubs. If this team can stay together and overcome the loss of Dupay, then the sky's the limit.
Haslem is a slightly more talented version of Lonny Baxter. Fox and Frye did a decent job on Baxter, but in the end Baxter had a pretty good game. Nelson is a big point guard who can score.
Look for the Wildcats to use some zone defense to keep Haslem in check. It worked well against Baxter the night before, so I would expect Lute Olson to stay with it.
The Gators are very strong on the glass and that's another concern.
(Florida) really pushes the ball up the floor," explained Arizona assistant coach Rodney Tention, responsible for scouting the Gators. "Defensive transition will be a big concern. Our big guys have to run the floor and our wings have to be alert because their trail guys can hit the three."
The Gators are deep and athletic and they will try to press the Cats. HOwever, the Wildcats have good ball handlers at four of the five positions. If the freshmen can keep their heads in the game, the Wildcats might be able to create some opportunities by beating break the press.
"Over all, we have very good ball handlers," Tention said. "So I'm not so concerned about the press. We work against the press in practice everyday. We have be concerned with slowing them down in transition."
It will be a tough match-up for the Cats, but the Wildcats have already proved they can play with the big-boys.