Make us your home page
Instagram

Get the quickest, smartest news, analysis and photos from the Bucs game emailed to you shortly after the final whistle.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Gators move to No. 2 in basketball polls

WEB ONLY CUTLINE: Center Patric Young #4 of the Florida Gators sets for a shot under the basket against the Georgia Bulldogs January 9, 2013. Almost a month later, the Gators are ranked as the nation’s No. 2 team.

Getty Images

WEB ONLY CUTLINE: Center Patric Young #4 of the Florida Gators sets for a shot under the basket against the Georgia Bulldogs January 9, 2013. Almost a month later, the Gators are ranked as the nation’s No. 2 team.

GAINESVILLE — The Florida men's basketball team will take the floor against Arkansas tonight for the first time as the nation's No. 2 team.

The Gators rose two spots Monday in both the Associated Press and USA Today Coaches polls. It is Florida's highest AP ranking since being No. 1 on Feb. 12, 2007, the season it won a second straight national title.

Florida (18-2) is 8-0 in SEC play and on a 10-game winning streak. The Gators, who received seven first-place AP votes, are also No. 3 in this week's RPI rankings and No. 1 in the Sagarin basketball rankings. Florida is 5-2 vs. teams with an RPI Top 50, 8-2 vs. RPI Top 100.

The Florida players realize they've become a marked team.

"I think now for sure every team is going to give us their best shot," junior C Patric Young said. "Getting more recognition means that we have to be ready for everybody bringing their best shot at us. Saying that we're this or we're that. None of that stuff really matters. We've just got to take care of what we can control coming in and trying to get better each and every day."

HOME ADVANTAGE: Arkansas is 13-1 at home this season, 4-0 in SEC play. The Gators are 4-4 at Bud Walton Arena under coach Billy Donovan, but Arkansas coach Mike Anderson said Florida will be its biggest challenge to date.

"It's going to be a game where we're going to need everybody to come out and play, and play at a high level, because when you talk about Florida you talk about a team that's pegged to play in the Final Four and win a national championship and I don't see why not," Anderson said. "They have all the weapons, they're playing tremendous defensively. I think that's what gets lost when people talk about Florida and how they shoot the basketball. Billy has them playing at a high level of defense. That's to me what wins you championships."

MISSED OPPORTUNITY: Florida's attempts to land junior college QB Tanner McEvoy fell short Monday when the Hillsdale, N.J., native orally committed to Wisconsin. McEvoy, a 6-6, 215-pound dual threat from Arizona Western College who threw for more than 1,500 yards and 21 touchdowns, chose Wisconsin over Florida and Oregon. The Gators' two backups behind Jeff Driskel have no collegiate playing experience. But ESPN national director of recruiting Tom Luginbill said the Gators are doing just fine. National signing day is Wednesday.

"I think if there's any coach right now in the SEC that's probably having the best night's sleep over the next two days, I would actually argue that it's Will Muschamp because of what they've been able to accomplish," Luginbill said Monday. "They've been able to sustain verbal commitments for an extended period of time. They've had minimal shifts and minimal changing. We've seen guys like Quinton Powell (who had his scholarship offer pulled), of course, and some other kids, but nothing dramatic. … So hey, this is going to be one of those years where people will look at Florida's class and they will say, 'Wow, they were able to sustain long term,' which is hard to do. It's awful hard to close, but when you can sustain long term that's a very, very difficult task and I think they deserve a lot of credit for that."

Antonya English can be reached at english@tampabay.com.

Gators move to No. 2 in basketball polls 02/04/13 [Last modified: Monday, February 4, 2013 10:44pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Orioles Buck Showalter's Trop takedown includes bullpen mounds, bathroom options, bladder probelms

    Blogs

    Orioles manager Buck Showalter has never been a fan of the Trop, and after Monday's 5-0 win he - with some prodding from O's TV man Gary Thorne - took a few more shots during their MASN interview, specifically about the location of the bullpen mounds, and the lack of bathroom facilities.

  2. What a perfect USF football season would and wouldn't mean

    College

    TAMPA — USF held its first fall practice Monday. A mere technicality. It's mind-bending how many people think that USF, sure to be ranked in the preseason Top 25, is going to throw down a 12-0 regular season with the schedule placed before it. This from a team that has never won a conference championship in its …

    The hiring of Charlie Strong, shown here, cente,r with USF president Judy Genshaft and athletic director Mark Harlan during his introductory press conference non Dec. 15, 2016, is one of several reasons for the Bulls' high football expectations this season.  [ JOEY KNIGHT | Times]
  3. HomeTeam 100: Players 31-40

    Footballpreps

    Wesley Chapel High School running back Dexter Leverett (6) runs the ball past Hudson High School offensive linebacker Cody Sutphin (8) during the second half at Wesley Chapel High School in Wesley Chapel, Fla., on Oct. 8, 2016. Wesley Chapel won the game 39 to 34
  4. Florida Gators' 2018 recruiting class cracks top 10

    Blogs

    While I was out on vacation, the Florida Gators apparently picked up their recruiting.

    By a lot.

  5. Five undrafted rookies to watch in Bucs training camp

    Blogs

    Rookies report today for Bucs training camp, with veterans joining in Thursday and the first practice Friday morning, and with HBO's "Hard Knocks" chronicling this year's camp, there's always an interest in the underdog storyline of undrafted rookies trying to make the 53-man roster.

    Bucs linebacker Richie Brown, an undrafted rookie trying to make Tampa Bay's roster this preseason, is shown during last year's St. Petersburg Bowl after he recovered a fumble for Mississippi State.