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Monday, February 17, 2014
Florida jumps to No. 2 in AP poll

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Syracuse is still tops in The Associated Press Top 25, but it is no longer a unanimous No. 1.

The Orange (25-0), who won two games in the final seconds last week, are on top for a third straight week. They received 64 first-place votes from the 65-member media panel. They were a unanimous choice the past two weeks.

Florida (23-2), which won at Kentucky on Saturday, moved from third to second and received the other first-place vote.

Joe Rexrode of the Detroit Free Press changed his No. 1 vote from the Orange to the Gators.

"Simply put, I watched both teams play both games last week and I think Florida is the best team in the country," Rexrode said. "That's pretty much it."

Wichita State (27-0), the only other unbeaten Division I team, moved from fourth to third while Arizona, which lost to Arizona State on Friday, dropped from second to fourth.

Duke moved from eighth to fifth and was followed by San Diego State, Cincinnati, Kansas, Villanova and Saint Louis.

Saint Louis' 17-game winning streak has the Billikens (23-2) at No. 10 this week. This is their first top-10 appearance since Dec. 29, 1964, when they were No. 9.

This is Kansas' 100th consecutive week as a ranked team, second on the active list to Duke, which has been in the Top 25 for 132 consecutive polls, a streak that started with the preseason poll of 2007-08. UCLA holds the all-time record of 221 consecutive weeks, a run that went from 1966 to 1980.

No. 13 Michigan State is in the poll for a 50th consecutive week. The Spartans are fifth on the list behind Duke, Kansas, Syracuse (74) and Florida (61).

UCLA, at No. 23, and Gonzaga, at No. 25, return to the rankings, replacing SMU and Pittsburgh. The two newcomers this week have both been previously ranked this season.

The Bruins (20-5) were out of the Top 25 the past five weeks but return having won six of their past seven under first-year coach Steve Alford. UCLA, which was No. 22 in the preseason poll and was ranked for the first four weeks of the season, is at California and Stanford this week.

Gonzaga (23-4) returned to the poll two weeks ago and dropped out following a loss at No. 22 Memphis. The Bulldogs beat Pepperdine and Loyola Marymount last week to clinch at least a tie for the West Coast Conference regular-season title, their 13th in the past 14 years. Gonzaga was ranked 15th in the preseason poll and has reached as high as No. 11.

SMU cracked the Top 25 last week for the first time since the next-to-last poll of 1984-85, a season when it reached as high as No. 2. The Mustangs (20-6), who were ranked 23rd, didn't stay among the ranked for long, as a 71-64 loss to Temple knocked them out.

Pittsburgh (20-6) lost to Syracuse 58-56 and North Carolina 75-71 last week and dropped from 25th. The Panthers had been ranked for five weeks, reaching as high as No. 18.

There are six games between ranked teams this week, and none will draw as much attention as No. 1 Syracuse at No. 5 Duke on Saturday.

When the teams met in Syracuse on Feb. 1, the Orange prevailed 91-89 in overtime in a game that was labeled an instant classic.

Texas has a couple of chances at season sweeps this week. The 19th-ranked Longhorns are at No. 17 Iowa State on Tuesday and at No. 8 Kansas on Saturday.

The other double-ranked games are No. 11 Louisville at No. 7 Cincinnati and No. 16 Wisconsin at No. 15 Iowa, both on Saturday, and No. 13 Michigan State at No. 20 Michigan on Sunday.

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.