Coming off a losing season, a first-round exit in the NIT, and the departure of star center Colin Castleton, it would be easy to see why fans of Florida basketball would be leery of expectations heading into the 2023-24 season under now second-year head coach Todd Golden.
But with the release of the AP Preseason Top 25 poll, at least someone out there envisions a bounce-back year for the Gators.
Florida Basketball: Talking season is almost over
Preseason polls in basketball tend to be more volatile than what we see in football. North Carolina started as the preseason number one last season before embarking on a 20-13 season that saw the Tar Heels miss the NCAA tournament.
So it’s with that in mind, the 2023-24 edition of the AP Preseason poll was released, and somehow, the Gators managed two votes.
It is unclear if this was two separate voters sneaking the Gators in at number 25 in the country or one voter placing them at 24, but the two votes in the poll place the Gators as the defacto 41st-ranked team in the country.
It’s not too absurd when one thinks of it like that. The KenPom preseason computer-based rankings have Florida basketball ranked 39th in the country.
Golden and crew are hoping these visions come to fruition. Riley Kugel is back with five new members out of the transfer portal, including Pullin from UC Riverside and Walter Clayton Jr., a Lake Wales native who played last season for Iona.
The Gators will kick off their season on November 2 with their Orange and Blue scrimmage before playing their first formal game against Loyola Maryland on November 6 at 8 PM.
Florida will have a busy November that includes the Hall of Fame Series vs Virginia, the NIT Season Tip-Off vs Pittsburgh, and the ACC/SEC Challenge vs Wake Forest.