BY: John Mamola

The Florida Gators men’s basketball team are ranked number one in both the latest USA Today Coaches Poll and the Associated Press Poll, both released yesterday.  Head coach Billy Donovan has led the Gators to the top overall ranking for the first time since 2007 stressing suffocating defense along with an intelligent offense scheme based around high percentage shots. 

Florida, the fifth team to hold the number one spot this season, receiving 47 first-place votes from the 65-member national media panel.  Now the Gators head into the home stretch with the SEC tournament and the NCAA Tournaments coming up in a matter of weeks, and ESPN NCAA basketball analyst Dan Dakich believes the Gators defense will carry this team through the tournament.

“You can get hot shooting the ball in basketball but you can also get hot defending,” said Dakich.  “They (Gators) do that over stretches.  Now it’s never going to be a fourty minute stretch, but if you can do that against good teams for four or five minute stretch you can go on a 10-0 run.  That’s kind of big in the NCAA Tournament so I think Florida is a definite challenger for the NCAA Championship.”

Dakich holds Billy Donovan high on his list of the best coaches in college basketball saying Donovan is a top five coach in the NCAA.  The former Bowling Green/Indiana Head Coach believes there will be three teams from a bubble team-filled SEC conference entering the NCAA Tournament (Florida, Kentucky, LSU) .





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