The Florida Gators open the 2011/12 men's basketball season ranked No. 10 in the preseason USA Today Coaches' Poll. Billy Donovan's club finished the 2010/11 season at the No. 10 spot, so little has changed in terms of how the nation's coaches perceive Florida. The Gators are the second of three SEC teams ranked in this poll, with the Kentucky Wildcats ranked No. 2 in the country, behind only the North Carolina Tar Heels. Indeed, Kentucky was the only team apart from North Carolina to receive a first-place vote from USA Today's panel of 31 coaches. The Alabama Crimson Tide round out the SEC's representation at No. 17.
The Ohio State Buckeyes, defending national champion Connecticut Huskies, and Syracuse Orange round out the top five.
Last season ended in heartbreak for the Gators, as they fell to the Butler Bulldogs, 74-71, in the Southeast Regional Final of the NCAA Tournament. Only one senior, leading scorer Erving Walker, returns from that squad. Kenny Boynton, the team's second-leading scorer, also returns for his junior season.
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