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Kansas starting four freshmen; Florida starting four seniors
Gainesville, Fla. — If talent wins tonight's game in Stephen C. O'Connell Center, Kansas will prevail. If experience is the deciding factor, Florida will win. That can be said about most of KU's games, of course.
For the first time this season, KU coach Bill Self will start four freshman, the same lineup he sent to the floor to start the second half in Boulder, Col. Frank Mason is making his third start, joining regular starters Wayne Selden Jr., Andrew Wiggins and Perry Ellis. Center Joel Embiid, who played high school basketball in Gainesville last season, makes his first start for the Jayhawks, replacing foul-plagued power forward Tarik Black.
Florida's starting lineup, listed in the pre-game notes: Scottie Wilbekin and Michael Frazier II at guards, Casey Prather and Will Yeguete at forwards and Patric Young at center. Prather leads Florida four Gators in double figures with 19.1 points per game. Yeguete is the only Gator starter not in double figures.
Thanks to the return of freshman guard Kasey Hill, the talent disparity won't be as much as the starting lineups suggests. Freshman guard Kasey Hill is back from a sprained ankle injury that sidelined him for four games. He and Wilbeken will play together for the first time this season. Wilbeken was suspended for the first five games.
It will be interesting to see whether KU coach Bill Self will start the game with Wiggins or Selden guarding Prather, a 6-foot-6, 212-pound senior who has attempted just three three-point field goals all season.
The Gators do have a couple of three-point threats, most notably Frazier (23 for 44, .523) and Wilbekin (4 for 8 in three games.)
Florida is coming off a buzzer-beater loss at UConn, a game in which the Gators lost despite winning the battle of the boards, 34-26. The Jayhawks are coming off a buzzer-beater loss at Colorado, where the Buffaloes made good use of 15 offensive rebounds.