Gators return to AP college basketball poll

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Gator cheerleaders lead the team onto the court, as Florida takes on Kentucky at the O'Connell Center on Saturday. Gators won 80-67. [Alan Youngblood/Gainesville Sun]

Florida returned to The Associated Press men’s college basketball Top 25 on Monday with a No. 23 overall ranking.

The Gators (20-11, 11-7 SEC) have won three straight, including an 80-67 win over former No. 23 Kentucky on Saturday at the O’Connell Center. Florida is 6-2 against ranked teams this season.

Florida was ranked as high as No. 5 in the first week of the season and is in the poll for the ninth time in 18 weeks this season. Florida was last ranked No. 23 the week of Jan. 29 but fell out thel following back-to-back losses to Georgia and Alabama.

The Gators will open SEC Tournament play as the third seed in the tournament Friday night (9:30 p.m. ET, SEC Network) in St. Louis against either 6 seed Arkansas, 11 seed South Carolina or 14 seed Ole Miss.

Virginia is the unanimous No. 1 in the Top 25.

The Cavaliers earned all 65 first-place votes after finishing four games ahead of the field in the ACC regular-season race. This was Virginia’s fourth straight week at No. 1, with the Cavaliers acquiring more first-place votes each time until claiming them all this week.

Villanova hopped over Xavier to reach No. 2. The Wildcats beat the Musketeers twice this season, though Xavier won the Big East regular-season race outright.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

8 COMMENTS

    • Sparky. Virginia is a great regular season team with their style of play. It has never transitioned into effective post-season play however. I doubt it will this year as well. Concerning the Gators, I think the lack of a solid inside game will make the post-season journey for Florida a short one as well, unless Hayes, Bassett, and Stone play way over their heads in the tourney.

      • Agree about UVA. I believe their best run under Bennett has been to the Elite Eight as a 1 or 2 seed. Stone is capable of having good offensive games, so I don’t think he necessarily has to play over his head, unless you’re talking about rebounding and defense, but I get your point. I think the best recipe for the Gators is just to shoot well. Hudson staying hot certainly won’t hurt.

    • I had the same thought. They have the most losses of any other ranked team and it not even close. I don’t get ranking them now. Yes, they beat Auburn and Kentucky but are these teams really that good? But, they’ve been so up and down.. And why couldn’t the pollsters wait until after the SEC tournament to see how well they handle success this one last time? It’s almost as if they’re trying to set this team up for failure. 🙁

      On the other end, we could look at it on the bright side. Florida is finally getting some respect. Typically it’s power houses that gets ranked with 11 losses. I may be wrong, but I can’t remember a Donovan team ever being ranked with that many losses.