The University of Arizona

A Top-10 Men's Basketball Showdown at McKale on Saturday

By Arizona Athletics, December 13, 2012
The UA's Nick Johnson plays against Southern Mississippi. (Photo courtesy of Arizona Athletics)
The UA's Nick Johnson plays against Southern Mississippi. (Photo courtesy of Arizona Athletics)

Game 8: No. 8 Arizona (7-0) vs. No. 5 Florida (7-0).

Eighth-ranked Arizona (7-0, 0-0 Pac-12) will return to McKale Memorial Center to host fifth-ranked Florida (7-0, 0-0 SEC) on Dec. 15 on ESPN.

The game will be the first in December, and just the fourth of the college basketball season, featuring two top-10 ranked teams. It will be the first time two top-10 teams have met in McKale Center since Jan. 10, 2004.

Both teams are similar statistically, including scoring offense (UA 79.3/UF 73.6), scoring margin (+20.4/+25.3), rebound margin (+11.5/+10.7) and field goal percentage (.486/.473).

For the second straight week, the UA is ranked eighth in both the Associated Press and ESPN/USA Today Coaches' polls. The Cats' No. 8 ranking is the highest for the program under Sean Miller and the first time the UA has been ranked as high in-season since coming in at No. 8 in the Jan. 8, 2007, coaches' poll.

The Gators will enter the game with a 7-0 record (0-0 SEC) following a 72-47 win Dec. 5 at Florida State. On the season, UF averages 73.6 points per game, shoots 47.3 percent from the floor (176-of-372), 35.1 percent (53-of-151) from three-point range and 70.5 percent (110-of-156) from the line.

Opponents average 48.3 points, are outrebounded by 10.7 per game and shoot 34.9 percent from the floor (124-of-355). Individually, four Florida players average in double figures, led by Kenny Boynton's 14.4 ppg figure. Patric Young leads the Gators in rebounding at 7.9 rebounds per game.

The game is the fourth meeting of the two schools with Florida holding a 2-1 series advantage. Arizona won the first meeting, 75-71, on Nov. 9, 2001, in New York City and Florida captured the last two, including a 78-72 overtime win last season in Gainesville on Dec. 7. All-time, Arizona is 0-0 in series games played in Tucson, 0-1 in Gainesville, Fla., and 1-1 in neutral-site games.

Last week, in a game of large momentum swings, Arizona swung first and last to earn a 66-54 win at Clemson. The UA opened the game with a 22-8 run, and Clemson answered with a 36-16 run to take a six-point lead before the Wildcats closed the game with a 22-7 run over the last 7:54 to win it. Powered by 20 offensive boards, Arizona held a 44-33 rebound edge. Mark Lyons led all scorers with 20 points, his first 20-point game as a Wildcat.

Up Next: The Wildcats return to action on Dec. 18 when the team hosts Oral Roberts in its final non-conference home game. Tip-off in McKale Center is scheduled for 7 p.m. MST and can be seen on the Pac-12 Networks.