S.C. columnist votes Gators No. 1

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Florida’s No. 4 ranking in Monday’s Associated Press men’s basketball poll is its highest since being ranked No. 3 in the country after winning the 2007 SEC Tournament.

But one AP voter thinks Florida is the best team in the country right now.

Ron Morris, a columnist from The State in Columbia, S.C., was the lone voter out 65 to rank the Gators No. 1 in the country. Michigan received 51 first-place votes, while Kansas received 13 votes.

“I was surprised that I was the only one,” Morris said.

Morris said part of his reason for ranking UF No. 1 was Ken Pomeroy’s site Kenpom.com, which takes into account advanced basketball metrics such as adjusted offensive and defense and opponent offense and defense. Florida is winning by an average margin of 22.5 points overall and 26.5 points in Southeastern Conference play.

Pomeroy ranked Florida No. 1 this week.

“He’s been pushing Florida all season,” Morris said. “So I take into account that, the Sagarin Ratings, RPI, what other people are saying about them. I’ve really been thinking the last three weeks, the best team in the country I’ve seen play so far this year is Florida. So based on that. why wouldn’t I rank them No. 1.”

Morris also has been impressed with UF’s defense, which is third in the nation in point allowed at 51.2 points per game. Florida has held 10 of 18 teams under 50 points this season.

“The teams that are playing the best defense right now are Florida, Indiana and Michigan,” Morris said. “Florida just attacks on defense. They play defense the way Duke used to play defense. They challenge the passing lanes and put you in positions on the floor where it’s hard to score.”

Coincidentally, Florida next plays Wednesday at home against South Carolina. Morris, a columnist who covers both the Gamecocks and Clemson, said he won’t be making the trip for the game.

Other notes:

— After a deep December shooting slump, Florida senior guard Kenny Boynton is shooting 44 percent from 3-point range (22-50) over his last seven games. “I’ve tried to do a better job getting to the hole and just taking open shots,” Boynton said. “That’s been the main thing.”

 

8 COMMENTS

  1. I, too was surprised he’s ”the only one”, and then I think Florida probably shouldn’t get those #1 questions only half through the season…so, it’s all good! This team had a problem during Christmas break (at K State), and since the Conference season started, WOW!
    I am personally expecting a CONFERENCE TITLE FROM THESE GUYS! I want the HAT and they want THE BLING -I’m sure! So, come Gators and MAKE CONFERENCE HISTORY AND WIN ‘EM ALL -18! CHOMP-CHOMP!

  2. I’m impressed with BD’s analogy of driving down a country road and coming upon the city lights, only to run into a (pun intended) pole! I’m sure he told The Boys of ‘Ol Florida it could be the Number 4 pole, formerly known as the Number 5 pole! lol Great coach, that BD. 🙂

  3. I much prefer that Florida stay out of the No. 1 spot all season, it’s just that much of a bigger target for your opponents to use for motivation. But, the Gators having been playing as well as just about anyone in the country so far, but the SEC level of competition may prevent them from ever getting higher than they are now.

  4. Kevin,

    I wrote you after the first 3 games this was the second best UF basketball team behind 2006-07. I think they may actually be getting better. With that said their continue to be two weaknesses that I see.

    1) Arizona proved this team can dominate over the long term but still melt down in the clutch like they did in the last two final Elite Eights. I said it in December, I do not think this team will be pushed again until NCAA tournament. That could be problematic.

    2) The team is well balanced inside out and all the starters can score. However, when Patric Young is out, they do not work as well on defense or offense. If Patric gets in foul trouble or winded, I think we step down more than loosin any other player. Prather coming back may shift this I will say it is good to have him back.

    Kevin what is your thought.

    • Close games have been an issue the last few years, sometimes, I think, Florida exerts so much energy in both ends of the floor offensively and defensively in building a lead that they get winded late. Fatigue leads to mistakes and coming up short on 3-point shots (end of Louisville). The return of Prather should help make the bench deeper and if you can build a big enough lead in the first 30 minutes, the last 10 become irrelevant. But Ole Miss and Kentucky and even Arkansas on the road should be good tests coming up for the Gators. Thanks for reading and posting. KCB.

  5. So that is a very good point Kevin but with these big, no huge leads late in the game, I wonder why more guys don’t get PT. I mean to extend the bench some (and stave off injury problems). Against SC we are up by like 40 still with about 8 to play and all the regular guys are in there. Why not bring some of the “practice” players in to get some meaningful time? Jacob Kurtz looks to be playing hard on D. Why not?