Gator Report

Antonya English

Gators are new No. 1 in men's basketball polls

Scottie Wilbekin does the Gator comp following Florida's victory over Auburn.

AP photo

Scottie Wilbekin does the Gator comp following Florida's victory over Auburn.

24

February

For the first time since 2007, the Florida men's basketball team sits atop the basketball rankings.

The Gators are ranked No. 1 in both the AP and ESPN/USA Today Coaches polls, which were released today.

Florida (25-2, 14-0 SEC) received 47 first place votes in the AP poll, 24 in the Coaches poll. Undefeated Wichita State (29-0) received 14 first place AP votes, eight in the coaches poll.

The last time the Gators were No. 1 in the polls (February 2007), the team went on to win a national title. But Florida coach Billy Donovan said Monday while the ranking is an honor, the Gators can't get caught up in the hype surrounding it because it means very little in the grand scheme of things.

"I always think any time that that happens, it's an honor," he said. "I'm not dismissing that. I'm not dismissing the polls, I'm not dismissing any of that stuff. But I think what happens is sometimes you can get focused on that and what happens is now everything that you do is attached to a ranking.

"It's a nice compliment," Donovan added. "I think it's a nice 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. You probably in a lot of ways could make the argument that Wichita State - I have not seen Wichita State play - but I think any time you do what Syracuse did and you've won out 25 games in a row, you kind of do what Arizona did before they had Brandon Ashley's injury, you do what Wichita State is doing. Those are really, really impressive things, what they’re doing on the court in my opinion. A lot of times when you get that ranking, a lot of times it has nothing to do with about what you do. It has to do with what other people do. When you start to be affected by what happens to other people, you get focused on the wrong things and your focus gets a lot broader where you really need to narrow your focus this year in terms of what we do need to do.”

The Gator players said they'll rely on the leadership of their four seniors to ensure they don't let the ranking disrupt their focus as they prepare to play at Vanderbilt Tuesday night - and beyond.

"It's definitely a challenge for us, but we have a great group of mature guys, especially our seniors and the coaches," sophomore G Michael Frazier said. "They push the group to strive to get better every day. I think we've done a good job up to this point of handling distractions and just understanding that we can continue to get better."

 

[Last modified: Monday, February 24, 2014 1:49pm]

    

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