Florida will begin the 2017-18 season as a top-10 team in both major polls.
The Gators were ranked No. 8 in the AP men’s college basketball Top 25 released Wednesday.
Florida returns two starters, including leading scorer and junior guard KeVaughn Allen, and seven players overall from a team that finished 27-9 and reached the Elite Eight last season under coach Mike White. But White said Wednesday that the Gators have work to do in order to reach last season’s lofty status. White said the Gators had several defensive breakdowns in a closed scrimmage on Sunday against FGCU.
“I don’t think we’re a top 10 team right now,” White said. “I don’t think we’re a Top 25 even top 50 team right now. But I’m hoping there are a lot of other coaches thinking the same thing. It’s just so early. I guess it’s neat in a certain regard for our fans and for our recruits, for our guys, but if they are thinking about that, then they are thinking about the wrong stuff.”
After playing a closed scrimmage Sunday against Florida Gulf Coast University, Florida will play a charity exhibition Thursday night at Jacksonville University’s Swisher Gym (7 p.m. tip). The Gators will play their final exhibition Sunday at Exactech Arena against Tampa (2 p.m.) before opening the season Nov. 13 at home against Gardner-Webb (7 p.m., ESPNU).
Florida is ranked No. 7 in the USA Today preseason coaches basketball poll.
“It doesn’t mean anything,” Florida senior point guard Chris Chiozza said. “My freshman year we were No. 7 and we didn’t have a winning record. I just don’t want this year to be like my first year, that was the worst year of basketball in my life … we’re just going to make sure everyone does what they have to do so they don’t have that repeat.”