Gators hoops enters new year top 25 in ESPN’s Basketball Power Index

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The Gators looked like they were off to the best start of the Mike White era just a few weeks ago. The team upset Florida State to end a seven-game losing streak to the in-state rival, and it followed that up with a buzzer-beater to take down Ohio State and win the Fort Myers Tip-Off.

But then, Florida lost to Oklahoma on the road and didn’t show up for a home game against a winless Texas Southern game, losing by 15 at the O’Dome. Then, UF couldn’t get the job done in Brooklyn against a struggling Maryland team with an interim coach.

The Gators closed out non-conference play on a high note with a blowout win over Stony Brook, and they enter their SEC slate at 9-3 but treading water. UF’s conference opener against Ole Miss was postponed due to COVID-19 issues within the program, and it will hope it’s able to play on Wednesday night at home against Alabama. Still, despite the relative inaction over the last two weeks, Florida still ranks No. 23 in the ESPN Basketball Power Index heading into the new year.

That still ranks behind six SEC teams in No. 4 Kentucky, No. 9 Tennessee, No. 11 LSU, No. 14 Auburn, No. 20 Mississippi State and No. 22 Alabama. UF’s next three scheduled games are against teams on that list in both Tigers teams and the Crimson Tide, so it has the opportunity to rise in these rankings considerably or fall quite a bit over the next two weeks.

Florida will need to get back to the way it was playing earlier in the season if it’s going to compete in an SEC that is as strong as it’s been in recent memory.

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