Gators are No. 1 in AP men's basketball poll
Published: Monday, February 24, 2014 at 11:49 a.m.
Last Modified: Monday, February 24, 2014 at 2:05 p.m.
Florida coach Billy Donovan said an argument could be made for a number of teams being labeled as the best in the country.
“On any given night, anybody could play to that level,” Donovan said. “I'm sure there's times Michigan State has looked like the No. 1 team. I'm sure there's been nights where Arizona, being No. 1, looked like No. 1 or Wichita State or Michigan.”
But for this week, it’s Florida. The Gators (25-2, 14-0 SEC) moved up to No. 1 in The Associated Press men’s college basketball poll, receiving 47 of 65 first-place votes, and in the USA Today Coaches’ rankings Monday. Florida takes a 19-game winning streak into its matchup Tuesday night at Vanderbilt.
“We’ve been given a number,” Donovan said. “That’s about the extent of it.”
It’s the 11th time the Gators have been ranked No. 1 in school history and the first time the Gators have been ranked No. 1 in the regular season since Feb. 12, 2007. Florida was ranked No. 1 in the USA Today coaches poll after winning the 2007 national title.
"Anytime that happens, it's an honor," Donovan said. "In reality, that means nothing for our preparation for Vanderbilt. I don't think our guys are playing for rankings.”
Florida players are confident they will handle the top spot with maturity.
“We have a good group of guys, guys that are level-headed for the most part, especially our seniors,” Florida sophomore guard Michael Frazier II said. “They do a good job of trying to keep everything in perspective. All in all as a group, we understand that there's a lot of things that we can get better at. We just want to be the No. 1 team in the country at the end of the season.”
The Gators also can clinch a share of the SEC regular-season title with a win against the Commodores. It would be UF’s second straight SEC regular-season title and third in the last four seasons.
“Our one thing right now is just Vanderbilt,” said Donovan when asked about the SEC title. “We have four games remaining and our guys are in the thick of an SEC race right now against very good teams.”