Bulldogs Jump To 8th In AP Poll

Nov. 21, 2005

Florida is young and in the Top 25.

The Gators, who lost three starters and 60 percent of their offense from last season, moved into The Associated Press' men's college basketball poll Monday. They had wins over ranked teams in the semifinals and championship game of the 2K Sports College Hoops Classic.

The jump from unranked to 14th for the team that starts four sophomores is the most impressive entrance since Georgia Tech moved in at No. 13 in the third poll of the regular season in 2003-04.

The record for a jump-in is Kansas' move from unranked to No. 4 in the first regular-season poll of 1989-90. The Jayhawks beat No. 1 UNLV, No. 2 LSU and No. 25 St. John's in winning the Preseason NIT that season.

Washington, which won the BCA Classic on its home court, was the other newcomer this week, moving in at No. 25.

Duke (3-0) held on to the No. 1 spot, receiving 65 first-place votes and 1,793 points from the national media panel. Texas (2-0) held second with six No. 1 votes and 1,692 points. Connecticut (1-0) remained third, but then came the changes.

Michigan State, which lost its opener at Hawaii 84-62, dropped from fourth to No. 12.

Villanova, which had the only other first-place vote, Oklahoma, Louisville, Kentucky, Gonzaga, Arizona and Boston College all moved up one place to round out the Top Ten.

Memphis was No. 11 followed by Michigan State, West Virginia, Florida, Illinois, UCLA, Syracuse, Iowa, Alabama and Indiana.

The last five ranked teams were George Washington, Nevada, Maryland, Wake Forest and Washington.

Stanford (0-1), which lost its season opener to Cal-Irvine 79-63, dropped out of the rankings from No. 13. Iowa State (1-0), which beat Mountain State 101-82, fell out from 25th.

"This game is fair," Stanford coach Trent Johnson said Monday. "Regardless of what everybody says from a preseason standpoint and the rankings and all that, if you show a lack of respect for competition and get caught up in what other people think about you as a basketball team or a basketball player, you're going to get beat."

Florida (4-0) beat Wake Forest and Syracuse in winning the early season tournament at Madison Square Garden. The Gators were led in the wins by sophomore guard Taurean Green, the tournament MVP and son of former NBA player Sidney Green.

The Gators were ranked for five weeks last season and were 16th in the final poll.

Washington (4-0) won its three games in the BCA Classic by an average of 37 points. The Huskies were ranked in every poll last season, including a season-best No. 8 in the final balloting.

Three tournaments will provide several matchups between Top 25 teams this week. The EA Sports Maui Invitational features Connecticut, Arizona, Gonzaga, Michigan State and Maryland. The Guardians Classic has Texas, Kentucky, West Virginia and Iowa. The Preseason NIT has Duke, Memphis and UCLA.



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