Gators Now Hold Top Spot in Poll
By JIM O’CONNELL
AP Basketball Writer
Florida moved to No. 1 in the AP poll for the first time since 2006-07, the season the Gators repeated as national champion.
The Gators were No. 1 for eight weeks that season, including two as a unanimous choice.
This is Florida’s 11th week overall as a No. 1 team – all since 2002-03 – moving it into a tie with Houston for 24th place since the poll started in January 1949. Next on the list are Arkansas, Georgetown and Virginia, all at 12 weeks. UCLA is No. 1 on the No. 1 list with 134 weeks.
FIFTH NO. 1: Florida is the fifth team to hold the No. 1 spot this season.
Kentucky was on top in the preseason poll and for the first week of the regular season before being beaten and replaced by Michigan State. The Spartans were on top for three weeks.
Arizona then was No. 1 for eight weeks before being replaced by Syracuse, which was on top for three weeks until losing twice last week, clearing the way for Florida to move to No. 1.
There were five No. 1 teams last season: Indiana (10 weeks), Duke (5), Gonzaga (3), Louisville (1) and Michigan (1).
The record for No. 1 teams in a season is seven in 1982-83. Virginia led the way with five weeks as No. 1 followed by Houston (3), Indiana (2), UCLA (2), North Carolina (2), UNLV (2) and Memphis State (1).
TWO LOSSES: Syracuse lost to Boston College and at Duke last week to become the first No. 1 team to lose two games in the same week since Texas in January 2010. The Orange dropped to fourth.
The Longhorns, who were No. 1 for two weeks, fell to sixth after losing to Kansas State and Connecticut, both on the road. Those losses started a rough end to the season for Texas, which started 17-0 then lost seven of nine and dropped out of the Top 25. The Longhorns lost 81-80 in overtime to Wake Forest in the first round of the NCAA tournament.
Those two weeks are the only ones Texas has been ranked No. 1.
BEATING NO. 1: Duke’s win over Syracuse last week was the Blue Devils’ ninth ever over a No. 1 team. They are fourth on the all-time list behind North Carolina (13, including one this season over Michigan State), Maryland (10) and UCLA (10).
Boston College’s win over Syracuse last week was the Eagles’ third all-time over a No. 1 team.
WELCOME BACK: North Carolina, which is riding a nine-game winning streak that includes a victory over then-No. 5 Duke last week, returned to the Top 25 this week at No. 19. The Tar Heels, who started 0-3 in the Atlantic Coast Conference, have won 20 games for the 41st time in 44 seasons. North Carolina, which was No. 12 in the preseason poll, was out of the rankings for the past seven weeks.
SMU returned to the poll after being out for one week. The Mustangs, who had last been ranked in 1984-85 until this season, moved back in at No. 23 after beating Connecticut last week for a sweep of the season series.
New Mexico used a solid win over then-No. 6 San Diego State to return to the rankings for the first time since the second week of the regular season. The Lobos, who were 23rd in the preseason poll, are back in at No. 25.
SO LONG: Connecticut dropped out of the rankings from 21st after the home loss to SMU. The Huskies, who were 18th in the preseason poll and reached as high as No. 9, were ranked the past three weeks.
UCLA, which returned to the poll last week at No. 23, dropped out after losing at Stanford. The Bruins, who were 22nd in the preseason poll, reached as high as 18th during the season.
Gonzaga dropped out after a one-week return at No. 25. The Bulldogs, who were 15th in the preseason poll and got as high as No. 11 during the season, lost to BYU and San Diego last week.
SOARING BLUEJAYS: Creighton jumped two spots to No. 9, the Bluejays’ first Top Ten ranking since they were 10th on Jan. 21, 2003.
DOUBLE-RANKED GAMES: There are only two games between ranked teams this week and both are on Saturday.
No. 7 Louisville is at No. 21 Memphis in a rematch of the Tigers’ 73-67 road win on Jan. 9, which snapped a four-game losing streak to the defending national champion. No. 4 Syracuse is at No. 12 Virginia in a matchup of the teams that entered this week in first and second place in the Atlantic Coast Conference.