Projected Starters


• G Mark Lyons (6-1 senior)

• G Nick Johnson (6-3 sophomore)

• F Solomon Hill (6-7 junior)

• F Brandon Ashley (6-8 freshman)

• C Kaleb Tarczewski (7-0 freshman)


• G Kenny Boynton (6-2 senior)

• G Mike Rosario (6-3 senior)

• F Will Yeguete (6-7 junior)

• F Erik Murphy (6-10 senior)

• C Patric Young (6-9 junior)


No drama this week

At this time last season, the Wildcats had already dismissed freshman forward Sidiki Johnson, and freshman point guard Josiah Turner was suspended for the Wildcats' overtime loss at Florida.

But so far this year, it's all been quiet - even during the finals week that just wrapped up.

"Our team is one of those teams that's very consistent in their approach, and part of what makes them consistent is they handle their business off the court," Arizona coach Sean Miller said. "We're not dealing with a whole lot of drama that approaches us on a daily basis away from basketball. I think our guys have really taken final exams like they should, with great importance."

Former Cats in the house

Standout alums of three Arizona basketball teams are scheduled to be at tonight's game at McKale Center: Chase Budinger (2006-09), Channing Frye (2001-05) and Miles Simon (1994-98).

Budinger, of the Timberwolves, is in town rehabbing a knee injury, while the Suns' Frye is missing this entire NBA season with a heart ailment. Simon will be providing color commentary for the ESPN broadcast.

Call him MVP so far

UA guard Nick Johnson's averages of 13.6 points and 3.7 assists may not tell the whole story about his value to the Wildcats.

According to the "Value Add Basketball" metric, Johnson is the 14th-most valuable player in college basketball because he is rated to add 8.83 points to the Wildcats when he is on the floor (similar to baseball's "wins above replacement" formula).

Players with a 9.0 or higher rating are considered to be playing at an All-America level.

By standard efficiency measures, Johnson also looks pretty good: He's shooting 54.8 percent from the field and has a 2.4-to-1 assist turnover ratio.


• The series: The Gators have won the past two games to pull ahead 2-1. UA won 75-71 in 2001-02 in New York, and Florida won 78-77 in 2003-04 in Springfield, Mass., and 78-72 in overtime at Gainesville, Fla., last season. Florida received 25 points and 10 rebounds from center Patric Young in last year's game, while holding a 47-35 rebounding edge and prompting 17 UA turnovers.

• Florida overview: After a dip in prominence following their back-to-back national titles in 2005-06 and 2006-07, Florida is behaving again like a national power. The Gators have won seven nonconference games by an average of 25.4 points, holding teams to just 34.9-percent shooting and causing 17 turnovers. Florida's strength is in passing and finding good shots for wings Kenny Boynton and Mike Rosario and post players Erik Murphy and Young. The Gators create easy transition chances from a tenacious press that can fall back into a man-to-man or zone defense.


Patric Young


While Kenny Boynton is probably the Gators' most dangerous perimeter player, Young anchors their offense inside with an imposing game. A physical player who doesn't back away from contact and is athletic, Young is particularly effective on the offensive glass.

Mark Lyons


Lyons came to Arizona in large part to prove he could handle playing point guard. Here's a high-profile chance to prove he can do so, against an aggressive defense that will go after Lyons and his teammates with a variety of defensive tricks.


Florida's national rank in scoring defense (48.3 average points per game by opponents)


Straight wins for Florida against Pac-12 teams


Florida victories over top-10 teams under coach Billy Donovan

He said it

"This (Gators) team is much better (than last season) because they're incredibly unselfish. The sum of their parts is much better than any individuals, and their defense is putting up incredible numbers. They have balance with Patric Young inside, and the best face-up four man in Erik Murphy. Boynton is an explosive shooter who really shoots well and can drive it. Rosario can flat-out score. … They're just a very explosive team. They share the ball as well as any team we've seen. They pass up a good shot for a great shot."

UA assistant coach Joe Pasternack, who scouted No. 5 Florida

No. 5 Florida (7-0) at No. 8 Arizona (7-0) • McKale Center • 8 p.m. today • ESPN • 1290-AM, 990-AM (Spanish)