Ad-Express and Daily Iowegian, Centerville, IA

Sports

February 25, 2014

Florida moves to No. 1 in AP poll

The Florida Gators are taking their turn as the newest No. 1 in what coach Billy Donovan calls a revolving door atop the AP college basketball poll, their first time on top of the rankings since they repeated as national champions in 2007.

The Gators (25-2) moved up one place Monday, replacing Syracuse (25-2), which lost twice last week and dropped to fourth.

Wichita State (29-0) and Arizona (25-2) both moved up one place to second and third. Florida, the fifth school to hold the No. 1 spot this season, received 47 first-place votes from the 65-member national media panel. The Gators were ranked No. 1 for eight weeks in 2007. Wichita State was No. 1 on 14 ballots with Arizona receiving the other four first-place votes.

Donovan called the rankings a revolving door before his Gators took over the top spot, and he said being No. 1 is an honor and compliment.

“But let’s be honest right now: The only reason we have garnered No. 1 and we would have never, ever been No. 1 if it had not been for the teams in front of us losing,” Donovan said.

To Donovan, a lot of teams could be considered the nation’s best right now with undefeated Wichita State having a strong argument. Donovan also said he’s impressed by Syracuse winning 25 straight games along with what Arizona did before Brandon Ashley’s foot injury.

“It’s not like all of a sudden Florida is No. 1 or you get a ranking and we’re the best team in the country,” Donovan said. “We’ve been given a number, and that’s about the extent of it.”

These Gators have won a school record 19 straight games coming off a 75-71 win at Mississippi where they shut down Marshall Henderson in the second half. They can clinch at least a share of the Southeastern Conference title on Tuesday night with a win at Vanderbilt before having a chance to wrap up the championship against LSU on Saturday.

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