Florida’s No. 4 ranking in Monday’s Associated Press men’s basketball poll is its highest since being ranked No. 3 in the country after winning the 2007 SEC Tournament.
But one AP voter thinks Florida is the best team in the country right now.
Ron Morris, a columnist from The State in Columbia, S.C., was the lone voter out 65 to rank the Gators No. 1 in the country. Michigan received 51 first-place votes, while Kansas received 13 votes.
“I was surprised that I was the only one,” Morris said.
Morris said part of his reason for ranking UF No. 1 was Ken Pomeroy’s site Kenpom.com, which takes into account advanced basketball metrics such as adjusted offensive and defense and opponent offense and defense. Florida is winning by an average margin of 22.5 points overall and 26.5 points in Southeastern Conference play.
Pomeroy ranked Florida No. 1 this week.
“He’s been pushing Florida all season,” Morris said. “So I take into account that, the Sagarin Ratings, RPI, what other people are saying about them. I’ve really been thinking the last three weeks, the best team in the country I’ve seen play so far this year is Florida. So based on that. why wouldn’t I rank them No. 1.”
Morris also has been impressed with UF’s defense, which is third in the nation in point allowed at 51.2 points per game. Florida has held 10 of 18 teams under 50 points this season.
“The teams that are playing the best defense right now are Florida, Indiana and Michigan,” Morris said. “Florida just attacks on defense. They play defense the way Duke used to play defense. They challenge the passing lanes and put you in positions on the floor where it’s hard to score.”
Coincidentally, Florida next plays Wednesday at home against South Carolina. Morris, a columnist who covers both the Gamecocks and Clemson, said he won’t be making the trip for the game.
– After a deep December shooting slump, Florida senior guard Kenny Boynton is shooting 44 percent from 3-point range (22-50) over his last seven games. “I’ve tried to do a better job getting to the hole and just taking open shots,” Boynton said. “That’s been the main thing.”