Monday , Nov , 06 , 2006 C.Y. Ellis

Defending champion Gators top first college hoops poll

New York, NY (Sports Network) – The Florida Gators will start the new college
basketball season the same way they ended the old one, as the number one team
in the country.

Florida won its first national championship last spring and returns all five
starters from that team, enough reason for the Associated Press to select the
Gators as the top team in its preseason poll.

The Gators received 63 of a possible 72 first-place votes and a total of 1,788
points from a national media panel. They will try to become the first team to
win back-to-back national titles since Duke in 1991-92.

North Carolina earned the second spot, garnering the other nine No. 1 tallies
and a total of 1,704 points.

Kansas is third in the initial poll and is followed by Pittsburgh, LSU and
UCLA. LSU and UCLA were Final Four participants last year, with the Bruins
losing to Florida in the national championship game.

The other Final Four team last year in Indianapolis was George Mason. The
Cinderella story from the Colonial Athletic Association received just one
point in the voting, as one media member decided to vote the Patriots 25th.

Ohio State, with top recruit Greg Oden sidelined following wrist surgery, will
start the season seventh. Georgetown, Wisconsin and Arizona round out the top
10.

The second 10 consists of Alabama, Duke, Texas A&M, Memphis, Boston College,
Marquette, Washington, Connecticut, Creighton and Syracuse.

Texas, Kentucky, Georgia Tech, Nevada and Tennessee complete the initial poll.

The SEC and Big East have the most teams in the preseason poll with five
apiece, while the ACC has four. The Big 12 and Pac-10 each have three and the
Big Ten has two. Conference USA, the Missouri Valley and WAC are each
represented once.