Florida soccer wins fifth straight SEC title

The 2010 Southeastern Conference regular season soccer title came down to a final match between the No. 8 Florida Gators and No. 17 South Carolina Gamecocks. Friday evening, the Gators (15-2-2, 9-1-1 SEC) defeated the Gamecocks (14-4-2, 8-2-1 SEC) 1-0 on the road at Eugene E. Stone III Stadium in Columbia, SC, to win their fifth straight conference title and 11th in SEC history.

Florida head coach Becky Burleigh, who has led the team throughout its entire 16-year existence, watched as the team’s three seniors won their fifth title. “I feel great. I am really, really happy for the seniors,” Burleigh said. “Nicky [Kit] scored the winning goal. Ashlee [Elliott] and Katie [Fraine] won their fifth SEC title, which is unprecedented. So it is just really exciting for our entire team.”

For Kit, a defender, her moment of the match came at 44:58 when she took a 20-yard free kick off the near post and into a goal for the match’s only score.

The Gators move on to the 2010 SEC Tournament where they have been awarded a No. 1 seed and are set to face No. 8 Vanderbilt on Wed. Nov., 3 at 3 p.m. Florida could meet up with No. 2 seed South Carolina in the SEC Tournament final should both programs win both of their opening round contests.

Photo Credit: University of Florida

Florida remains unranked but receives votes

Snapping a three-game losing streak with a 34-31 overtime victory against the Georgia Bulldogs (4-4, 3-4 SEC) at EverBank Field in Jacksonville, FL, on Saturday, the Florida Gators (5-3, 3-3 SEC) remained unranked on Sunday when the latest USA Today and Associated Press Top 25 polls. Out of the top 25 for the first time under head coach Urban Meyer, Florida did receive votes in both polls and may be in line to be ranked once again should they defeat Vanderbilt next weekend.

WeekResultBCSUSA TodayAssociated Press
Preseason--No. 10 (930)No. 10 (894)
2W 24-6 vs. Toledo-No. 9 (974)No. 12 (875)
3L 16-21 at Miami-No. 20 (410)No. 18 (405)
4Open-No. 18 (398)No. 19 (412)
5W 31-17 vs. Tennessee-No. 19 (449)No. 20 (414)
6W 24-7 at Kentucky-No. 19 (515)No. 18 (481)
7W 30-10 vs. Arkansas-No. 17 (574)No. 17 (536)
8L 6-17 at LSU-No. 22 (240)No. 22 (249)
9L 17-36 at Missouri-NR (4)NR (17)

USA TODAY
This Week 1-25: Oregon (51), Auburn (4), Boise State (3), TCU (1), Alabama, Utah, Wisconsin, Ohio State, Oklahoma, Nebraska, LSU, Stanford, Arizona, Missouri, Michigan State, Iowa, South Carolina, Oklahoma State, Arkansas, Virginia Tech, Mississippi State, Baylor, Nevada, Florida State, North Carolina State
*Florida received four votes.

ASSOCIATED PRESS
This Week 1-25: Oregon (49), Boise State (7), Auburn (2), TCU (2), Alabama, Utah, Wisconsin, Ohio State, Nebraska, Stanford, Oklahoma, LSU, Arizona, Missouri, Iowa, Michigan State, Arkansas, South Carolina, Oklahoma State, Virginia Tech, Mississippi State, Baylor, North Carolina State, Florida State, Nevada
*Florida received two votes.

BCS
This Week 1-25: Oregon, Auburn, TCU, Boise State, Utah, Alabama, Nebraska, Oklahoma, Wisconsin, LSU, Ohio State, Missouri, Stanford, Michigan State, Arizona, Iowa, Oklahoma State, Arkansas, South Carolina, Mississippi State, Baylor, Virginia Tech, Nevada, Florida State, North Carolina State

*Numbers in parenthesis represent first-place votes.

Week 9: Gators post-game news and notes

Snapping a three-game losing streak, the Florida Gators (5-3, 3-3 SEC) snuck a 34-31 overtime win by the Georgia Bulldogs (4-5, 3-4 SEC) at the World’s Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party in Jacksonville, FL, at EverBank Field. With so much to discuss, OGGOA presents some important notes and quotes following the contest.

OH HENRY!

By now everybody knows what happened Saturday – after missing his initial field goal attempt wide left in the first quarter, Florida senior punter Chas Henry nailed two in a row including a 37-yarder in overtime to ice the game. However, what is not known is how much that one kick meant to Henry. “It was the best feeling I’ve ever had,” he said. “The main thing that went through my mind was how I let my team down two weeks ago against Mississippi State. That was one of the hardest things I’ve had to go through. I got so much support through the coaches, my family and friends, and my brothers in the locker room. The internal family we have is as strong as you can get. I let them down one time. I was never going to let it happen again. It felt great. Unbelievable.”

Henry’s field goal was so emotional that it caused head coach Urban Meyer to immediately drop to his knees according to those on the scene. Why exactly did he do that? “After he hit that field goal? It was Chas Henry hitting a damn field goal. Think about that for a minute. That’s not easy,” Meyer said. I didn’t realize I did that. It was a good moment.”

Meyer gave Henry three opportunities to kick field goals Saturday because he had confidence in the young man after seeing how he played in practice on Thursday. “He’s got a strong leg; he just has not majored in that,” he said. “We thought we were going to have Caleb [Sturgis]. Caleb came out Wednesday and kicked beautifully. Then his back, he could’ve pushed it but we’re not going to do that – it could hurt him for a long time if he hurts it more. On Thursday, Chas came out and hit every field goal. We always go right-left, right-left, right-left, right-left, and he went right up to 42 yards, I think he was seven-for-seven.”

THRICE IS NICE FOR WILL THE THRILL

Though only two of his three interceptions will count when looking at the box score 10 years from now, senior safety Will Hill’s performance will be remembered for some time. Following in the footsteps of some of the Gators’ other terrifying free safeties, Hill came through when it counted by saving a two-point conversion and starting Florida’s celebration early with an 89-yard interception return (that did not go for a score) in overtime. He had been struggling all season and even failed in protection on an early Georgia touchdown, but Hill got some of his mojo back by the time the whistle sounded.

“[Ahmad] Black had good coverage on A.J. [Green],’’ Hill said of the overtime interception. “He tipped the ball and it just fell in my lap. I just saw an opportunity and made the best of it. I was struggling earlier in the season and coaches never gave up on me, teammates never gave up on me. And for me to come out and playing like this, it’s just like paying the team back.’’

“Big play of the day,” Meyer said of Hill’s overtime pick. “And from what [defensive coordinator] Teryl Austin mentioned in [the locker room], he said it was Will Hill’s best game. We’ve been waiting for that all year. Will Hill played very well tonight.” Austin had his thoughts as well. “You saw it today. He played. He played like a Florida safety plays,” he asid. “He made some wonderful plays out there today. He was physical, he hit guys, he intercepted the ball, he did a great job for us today. Really proud of him.”

FLORIDA FINDS A LONG-LOST “EDGE”

Aside from injuries and execution, one of the main reasons the Gators’ offense has been so vanilla this year is because the team found it difficult to find an edge. Meyer believes Florida found exactly that over the last two weeks and wishes he would have identified it and installed it earlier this year. “I could kick myself for not doing that more this summer,” Meyer said of using a steady two quarterback rotation. “I did not anticipate…Trey Burton’s one of those guys, I didn’t know he was that good as a runner. I thought he was pretty good and then he was dynamic. Jordan Reed did a nice job, came in and gave us some two-plus yardage plays. We’re going to do more of that. We have to find that edge. Florida’s always had the edge.

“In ’05 we really didn’t really have one, and then ’06 we had some edge when we recruited Percy [Harvin] and then Dallas [Baker] came on. Then obviously Tim [Tebow] went crazy in ’07, ’08 you had a bundle of them – there’s edges all over the place. […] We’re just still trying to find what that edge is. You can’t play offensive football without it. You can sit and run between the tackles, you can run perimeter plays or you can throw, and if you don’t have that edge than it’s just a mess. And that’s kind of where we’ve been. We’re looking at tempo as an edge, multiple quarterbacks as an edge and development of players. You want to get that speed back with [Chris] Rainey and [Jeff] Demps, that helps us a lot as well.”

RAINEY’s REDEMPTION

Ask any of his teammates or the player himself, and it is obvious Rainey has had a tough few weeks after being suspended indefinitely following his arrest. In addition to being scolded by the coaching staff, administration and the media, Rainey has been hard on himself and made a concerted effort to turn his life around. Saturday’s game was the first he had played in more than a month, and Rainey made the most of it going off for 241 all-purpose yards including 84 rushing yards.

“Rainey stood up after the game and thanked God for giving him a second chance. He’s taking full advantage of it,” said senior center Mike Pouncey, one of Rainey’s best friends. “He thanked the whole administration – [athletic director] Jeremy Foley and the president [Bernie Machen] – and he thanked God as well. He thanked everyone for giving him a second chance because without Jeremy Foley and President Machen, it wouldn’t be possible for him to play right now. I love Chris like a brother. [...] He’s been living with me since high school, and we have a special relationship. I felt his pain those weeks he was out. He loves football. He’s a great person, and I know that was one of the happiest moments of his life just to be out there with us playing.”

Meyer attributes Rainey’s presence to many of the other big plays made during the game. “The threat of a perimeter issue opens up – the Trey Burton touchdown, that was a lot of the Tim stuff we used to do when you had Percy,” he said. “If you have a threat of this [holds arms out], it sometimes opens that [em>points arms to middle] up. That’s the mix of perimeter and interior rushing. That’s a direct result of having a perimeter.”

QUOTES (After the break…)
Continue Reading » Week 9: Gators post-game news and notes

Henry holds off Dogs as Gators win OT thriller

On the eve before Halloween, EverBank Field in Jacksonville, FL, was filled with tricks and treats including a game-winning 37-yard field goal in overtime from senior punter Chas Henry to push the Florida Gators (5-3, 3-3 SEC) over the Georgia Bulldogs (4-5, 3-4 SEC) 34-31.

Tied at 31 in overtime, Georgia quarterback Aaron Murray was picked off by Florida junior safety Will Hill on third down after redshirt freshman Jelani Jenkins tipped Murray’s pass. Hill nearly returned the ball for a touchdown to ice the game but stepped out at the four; the Gators got the ball back at the 25 for their attempt. Failing to gain a first down on their first three plays, Florida turned to Henry who made his second field goal of the night to help the Gators snap a three-game losing streak and win their 18th in the last 21 games against the Bulldogs.

With junior running back Jeff Demps and redshirt junior wide receiver Chris Rainey active for Florida, the Gators running game came alive. Demps rushed nine times for 38 yards, and Rainey carried 16 balls for 84 yards – both had a touchdown. Rainey also led UF with 241 all-purpose yards as he was the team’s primary kick returner. However, it was freshman QB Trey Burton who really helped move Florida’s offense, keeping 17 balls for 110 yards and two scores including a 51-yard touchdown run.

Redshirt junior quarterback John Brantley, who was 16-of-25 for 193 yards with an interception, spread the ball around evenly. Sophomore WR Omarius Hines caught four balls for a team-high 50 yards, redshirt sophomore WR Frankie Hammond, Jr. hauled in three for 46 yards, Demps took two for 43 yards, redshirt junior WR Deonte Thompson caught two for 36 yards and Burton gained 35 yards on a team-high five receptions.

Georgia took it to Florida on the ground and through the air, rushing 34 times for 126 yards and a touchdown as a team and gaining 313 yards passing on Murray’s 18-of-37 performance with three touchdowns and three interceptions.

Junior cornerback Janoris Jenkins picked off Murray on the first play of the game, but the Gators offense stalled and failed to gain points after Henry missed a field goal. Hill intercepted Murray twice during the game and once more on a failed two-point conversion in the second half.

With the win, Florida moves into second place in the SEC East standings and within striking distance of earning a berth to the 2010 SEC Championship game should they defeat Vanderbilt (next Saturday at 12:21 p.m. on SEC Network) and South Carolina. Saturday’s game was the first time the Gators had gone to overtime in a contest since Nov. 5, 2005; Florida now holds a 3-2 record when playing in extra time.

Photo Credit: Stephen Morton/Associated Press

Week 9: Florida Gators vs. Georgia Bulldogs

Location: EverBank Field – Jacksonville, FL [Capacity: 84,000]
Weather Forecast: 77°F, partly cloudy
Time: 3:30 p.m. (EST)

TV: CBS/CBSHD
Sirius/XM: 121/141
Online Video: CBSSports.com
Online Audio: Yahoo!
Live Updates: @OnlyGators

FLORIDA GATORS GEORGIA BULLDOGS
Head Coach: Urban Meyer Head Coach: Mark Richt
Record: 4-3 (2-3) Record: 4-4 (3-3)
Conference: Southeastern Conference: Southeastern
Roster | Schedule Roster | Schedule

Odds: Pick ‘em; O/U 49

HISTORY and STREAKS

» Georgia leads the all-time series 46-39-2 against Florida, holding a 40-36-1 advantage in Jacksonville. The Gators have won back-to-back games in the series, defeating the Bulldogs 49-10 in 2008 and 41-17 last season.
» Over the last 20 years, UF holds a 17-3 advantage over UGA. Under Meyer, Florida is 4-1 against Georgia since 2005.
» The Gators are now 22-30 in the red zone in 2010 with 20 touchdowns and two field goals. Earlier this season, Florida had a run of 15 straight scores inside the red zone including 14 touchdowns.
» Florida’s offense has seen 12 different players overall score a touchdown this year – including defense and special teams.
» The Bulldogs are out-scoring opponents 63-31 in the first quarter while the Gators are being outscored 14-26 in the same period.
» Florida is one of two schools in the nation (Nebraska) that has three players with at least three interceptions.
» The Gators have faced the SEC’s (at-the-time) leading rusher three times this season; each time, the player no longer led the SEC after facing UF.
» Florida under Meyer is 40-1 when holding an opponent under 16 points, 29-3 when shutting an opponent out in the fourth quarter, 37-3 when holding an opponent to 35 percent or less on third down, 37-2 when giving up two or less big plays (15-yard run/25-yard pass) and 31-3 when the Gators defense scores or creates three turnovers.
» Florida is tied for the national lead with 13 interceptions on the season. Five have been returned for more than 30 yards – three for touchdowns.
» Georgia has won three straight games (Tennessee, Vanderbilt and Kentucky) by a combined score of 128-45. The Bulldogs scored 41 or more points in all three contests. Comparatively, the Gators scored 31 and 48 points against UT and UK, respectively.
» The Bulldogs out-rank the Gators in three of four major statistical averages. Georgia is 55th in passing yards (228.4), 59th in rushing yards (153.8), 39th in points scored (31.5) and 30th in points against (19.1) compared to Florida being 82nd in passing yards (186.9), 75th in rushing yards (142.1), 62nd in points scored (27.6) and 26th in points against (18.7). Both defeated common opponents Tennessee and Kentucky, but UF has faced two top-10 defenses this year in Alabama (No. 2) and LSU (No. 10).
» Saturday’s game is the first time since 1979 that at least one of the two teams is not nationally ranked. In fact, both teams have been in the top 25 on 17 occasions when they have faced each other since that year.
» New Georgia athletic director Greg McGarity previously worked was executive senior associate athletic director of internal affairs under Florida’s Jeremy Foley; he was with the school from 1992-2010.
» Gators redshirt sophomores defensive tackle Omar Hunter and fullback T.J. Pridemore both attended Buford High School, as did a number of Bulldogs including Kolton Houston, Billy Johnson and Dallas Lee.
» Florida is unranked for the first time under Meyer’s. The Gators had been listed in every poll since he took over in 2005 until they lost to Mississippi State two weeks ago.
» Four players were inducted into the Florida-Georgia Hall of Fame on Friday including former Gators linebackers Scot Brantley and Wilber Marshall, and former Bulldogs quarterback Zeke Bratkowski and linebacker Knox Culpepper.
» Florida will wear Nike Pro Combat uniforms for the Georgia game. They are one of 10 teams selected to wear a specially designed uniform by the company this season.

KEEP AN EYE ON…

FLORIDA
» Redshirt junior quarterback John Brantley…who had thrown 156 consecutive passes without an interception dating back to 2009, now has a 6-5 TD/INT ratio this season after throwing another pick last week. He has completed 125-of-208 passes (62.0 percent) for 1,266 yards and has a passer rating of 117.9.
» Junior running back Jeff Demps…who is averaging 6.5 yards per carry and still leads the Gators in rushing (482 yards) after missing a full game and being limited in three others. He was Florida’s leading rusher in its first five games of the season.
» Redshirt junior WR Deonte Thompson…who has seen a dip in his average yards per game this season down to 50.4. He remains the Gators’ leading receiver with 25 catches for 353 yards with a majority of his receptions earning UF first downs.
» Redshirt senior WR Carl Moore…who continues to be clutch for the Gators each week. Twelve of Moore’s last 15 catches have been for first downs including two against Tennessee, four against Kentucky, two against Alabama, three against LSU and one against Mississippi State.
» Freshman QB Trey Burton…who set a school record and SEC freshman record by scoring six touchdowns in a single game against Kentucky. He has nine scores on the season, has played five positions and may see more time behind center with the team wanting to run the ball better out of the option.
» Senior punter Chas Henry…who is the end-all be-all of Florida’s kicking game now that he has taken over for junior Caleb Sturgis (back) as the team’s field goal kicker. Henry has missed his last four field goal attempts (one negated by penalty) after nailing his first two against Alabama.
» Florida’s secondary…which has intercepted eight balls this season but has been held without a pick over the last three games. Senior safety Ahmad Black (three), redshirt sophomore CB Jeremy Brown (three) and junior cornerback Janoris Jenkins (two) and are leading the way for the unit. Brown returned one for a touchdown two games ago, and Black is tops on the team with 50 tackles on the year while also being the conference’s active leader in interceptions (11) and interception return yards (233).
» Black…who has led Florida in tackles four times this season: vs. LSU (13), Miami (10), Mississippi State (10) and USF (8). He is tops on the team overall with 60 tackles, including three for loss.

GEORGIA
» WR A.J. Green…who leads the Bulldogs in receptions (22) even though he missed the first four games of the season. Since returning, he has amassed 365 yards and four touchdowns, catching six or more balls three times for 86 or more yards.
» QB Aaron Murray…who has completed 121-of-193 passes this season for 1,766 yards, 12 touchdowns and three interceptions, earning him a 157.0 passer rating. Murray has passed for seven TDs and one INT in the last four games (Georgia is 3-1).
» RB Washaun Ealey…who is averaging five yards per carry on 105 touches. With seven touchdowns on the season, he has accounted for more than any other player on the team and also leads Georgia with 526 rushing yards.
» Linebacker Justin Houston…who leads the SEC with nine sacks after registering 5.5 over the last three games. He is also second in the conference in tackles for loss (14.5).

INJURIES and INACTIVES
Injuries
Active – Junior RB Jeff Demps (foot), sophomore RB Mike Gillislee (hamstring), redshirt senior RB Emmanuel Moody (thigh), redshirt freshman right guard Jon Halapio (finger)
Probable – Redshirt freshman WR Andre Debose, redshirt junior DT Jaye Howard

Inactives
Redshirt sophomore LT Matt Patchan (broken wrist), junior K Caleb Sturgis (back), sophomore LB Dee Finley (fractured collarbone), freshmen RB Mack Brown, WRs Quinton Dunbar and Chris Dunkley (hamstrings)

FLORIDA ON ESPN COLLEGE GAMEDAY

The Gators and Bulldogs will be featured during ESPN’s College GameDay broadcast beginning at 9 a.m. on ESPNU (hosted by Erin Andrews) and continuing from 10 a.m. until noon on ESPN. Reporter Joe Schad will have an exclusive interview with Meyer and the show’s three hosts – Chris Fowler, Lee Corso and Kirk Herbstreit – will be picking the game in the show’s final segment.

Read OGGOA’s Florida Gators vs. Georgia Bulldogs preview after the jump!
Continue Reading » Week 9: Florida Gators vs. Georgia Bulldogs

Florida routs Florida Tech 92-58 in exhibition

The No. 9/11 Florida Gators took the court at the Stephen C. O’Connell Center for the first time during the 2010-11s season and came away with a 92-58 exhibition game win over the Florida Tech Panthers on Thursday night.

Every member of the Gators saw action Thursday, though it was sophomore guard Kenny Boynton who led the way with 24 points and five rebounds on 10-of-15 shooting (4-of-6 from downtown) in 25 minutes. Freshman forward Casey Prather, seeing the court for the first time while wearing the orange and blue, also played for 25 minutes and earned a double-double with 10 points and 12 rebounds.

Senior Fs Chandler Parsons and Alex Tyus were the Gators’ other offensive standouts with 15 and 14 points, respectively. Parsons also contributed four rebounds, four assists and four steals, while Tyus added three boards. Junior point guard Erving Walker was the team’s main facilitator, playing 24 minutes and recording six assists.

Also in their first game for Florida as freshmen, center Patric Young took two charges, F Will Yeguete scored six points and grabbed eight rebounds, F Cody Larson played 15 minutes, and PG Scottie Wilbekin played five minutes before straining his neck and sitting out the second half.

As a team the Gators shot 50 percent from the field (37-of-54), out-rebounded the Panthers 46-28 and forced their opponent into 30 turnovers. Highlights included a powerful LeBron James-like block by Young and numerous dunks by Tyus including an inbounds alley-oop in the first half.

POST-GAME QUOTES (After the break…)
Continue Reading » Florida routs Florida Tech 92-58 in exhibition

10/28: Meyer says Rainey active, RBs healthy

Florida Gators head coach Urban Meyer met with the media after practice on Thursday and divulged a few important notes about the team’s seventh game of the 2010-11 season on Saturday against the Georgia Bulldogs. OGGOA has compiled some of the key details which you can check out below.

RAINEY STAYS ON TRACK, READY TO PLAY

Topic number one on the agenda Thursday for Meyer was determining whether or not redshirt junior wide receiver Chris Rainey would be active and eligible to play Saturday against Georgia. Evaluating him since he returned to the team, Meyer said Rainey went above and beyond what the team asked of him and will be able to play his first game in six weeks. “Chris is gonna play,” Meyer said. “He had a good week. And beyond. He really had a good week.” In addition to his duties as a slot receiver, Rainey will be playing in the backfield for a lot of the game due to some of his teammates still being a little dinged up.

RUNNING BACKS HEALTHY. EVERYONE ELSE?

Florida’s biggest struggle this year has been on the injury front. With all three of the team’s main rushers injured over the last few weeks, Meyer told reporters that, before the Mississippi State game, he was informed that he would have no healthy runners. That will not be the case Saturday as the trainers have declared junior starter Jeff Demps (foot) near 100 percent for the first time in five weeks; redshirt senior Emmanuel Moody (thigh) and sophomore Mike Gillislee (hamstring) will also be good to go.

Unfortunately, the running backs were not the only Gators trying to overcome injuries. A number of other players have been in and out of action over the last two weeks.

» Junior kicker Caleb Sturgis (back) – out, aggravated hairline fracture in vertebrae
» Redshirt freshman WR Andre Debose (ankle) – probable, will play on a limited basis
» Redshirt junior defensive tackle Jaye Howard (ankle) – probable, limited
» Senior cornerback Moses Jenkins (elbow) – active
» Redshirt sophomore left tackle Matt Patchan (wrist) – out

QUOTES

On the importance of this game: “It’s the whole world, man. First of all, it’s Florida-Georgia.”

On practice this week: “We had a really good week. We pounded them real good the last two weeks in practice, eased up a bit [Wednesday and Thursday]. I’m expecting a good performance.”

On Sturgis not playing: “Probably could [play], but for the best interest of the young man, that’s a pretty tough injury.”

On how senior punter Chas Henry has been kicking in practice: “He did good today – hit every one. 40-45 [yarders] are going to be tough, I’d say [we can go for it] inside the 40.”

On sophomore WR Omarius Hines contributing: “He’s improving and he’s actually been here for a few years but he’s still a young player. He’s got a lot of talent. It’s time he steps up and plays.”

On freshman RB Mack Brown not playing since early in the season: – “He’s been having hamstring issues. [Chris] Dunkley and Quinton Dunbar and Josh Shaw – Josh Shaw was a knee. All those kids were kind of planning on playing and they’ve been banged up. The minute they’re ready to come back, they get dinged up again. I think Mack’s getting close, but he’s also had hamstring issues.”

On redshirting M. Brown: “No, I didn’t say that. It’s still too early.”

On being able to bring recruits to Florida-Georgia: “I think both teams should be able to bring recruits, 25 tickets or something like that. Not official visits, but they can just go get tickets, sign up for tickets, go to the game and then go home. No contact or anything – that would be a mess. They deserve to go watch this game because they’re going to get to play in it. Absolutely.”

On if he has “anything up his sleeve” for the game: “We’re not at that point. It’s much easier when we’re leading the SEC in offense and defense to have something up your sleeve. Where we are right now – just trying to get a little better, man.”

Florida ranked in preseason basketball polls

The defending national champion Duke Blue Devils earned the No. 1 spot in both the Associated Press and ESPN/USA Today preseason polls released over the last two weeks. The Florida Gators were voted No. 9 and No. 11 in the respective polls.

The preseason top-10 for each poll was voted as follows:

Associated Press: Duke (55), Michigan State (8), Kansas State (2), Ohio State, Pittsburgh, Villanova, Kansas, North Carolina, Florida, Syracuse

ESPN/USA Today: Duke (29), Michigan State (2), Kansas State, Pittsburgh, Ohio State, Villanova, Kansas, Purdue, North Carolina, Kentucky

Other Southeastern Conference schools ranked in the preseason Top 25s include No. 11/10 Kentucky and No. 23/20 Tennessee.

Florida is set to play No. 4/5 Ohio State in Gainesville, FL, on Nov. 16 and No. 3/3 Kansas State at the Orange Bowl Basketball Classic in Sunrise, FL, on Dec. 18.

The Gators finished the 2009-10 season unranked in both polls.

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