Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Gators' Buzz in the Desert; Undefeated Florida Takes Its No. 5 National Ranking for a Late-Night Date at Arizona

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Gators' Buzz in the Desert; Undefeated Florida Takes Its No. 5 National Ranking for a Late-Night Date at Arizona

Article excerpt

Byline: Adam Pincus

Florida had its practice schedule interrupted this past week because of final exams. The Gators will face another kind of test when they travel cross-country to face the No. 8 Arizona Wildcats (7-0) on Saturday night.

No. 5 Florida (7-0) enters the game with its highest ranking since 2007 and with a national buzz surrounding the team.

"I think because of the margin of victory in some of these games, we've probably gained some attention because of that," Gators coach Billy Donovan said. "I'm not so sure, and I said this after several games, that we're that many points better than the teams that we've played against."

The Gators defeated then-No. 22 Wisconsin, Marquette and Florida State by an average of 25 points per game.

Florida takes on Arizona for its second true road game this season, which point guard Scottie Wilbekin thinks is an opportunity for the rising squad.

The Gators defeated the Wildcats 78-72 in overtime at home last season.

"I just want to prove that we're a legit team," Wilbekin said. "The rankings are a way of saying that, but it doesn't matter. I just want to win every game. This game is important to me, because this is the next step."

Standing in the Gators' way are two freshmen who arrived at Arizona as part of the nation's third-ranked recruiting class, according to Rivals.com.

Seven-footer Kaleb Tarczewski and 6-8 forward Brandon Ashley make up the tallest front Florida has seen all season.

"Those guys will continue to grow with every game that goes on, but clearly you can see the talent and the ability and the potential of those guys," Donovan said of Arizona's freshmen. "Their frontcourt has totally changed from last year to this year with the size they've added to the team."

Guards Mark Lyons and Nick Johnson combine for 27 points per game for Arizona.

Donovan feels the Gators went up against an undersized Wildcats team last season. …

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