The Florida Gators open the 2011/12 men's basketball season ranked No. 8 in the country in the Associated Press' preseason Top 25, just ahead of their preseason ranking last season (No. 9) and well ahead of where they finished at season's end (No. 15). The Gators stand as one of four SEC clubs in the Top 25, with the Kentucky Wildcats (No. 2) leading the conference. Additionally, the Vanderbilt Commodores (No. 7) and Alabama Crimson Tide (No. 19) also fared well in the rankings.
Florida's season opens Nov. 11 against the Jackson St. Tigers. Erving Walker and Kenny Boynton, its two leading scorers from a season ago, return this season.
The North Carolina Tar Heels ran away with the voting, finishing with 62 of a possible 65 first-place votes. Kentucky ranks No. 2, with the Ohio St. Buckeyes, defending national champion Connecticut Huskies, and Syracuse Orange rounding out the top five.
The Sunshine State came close to having two teams in the preseason AP Top 25, as the Florida St. Seminoles finished just eight voting points behind the No. 25 Missouri Tigers. The Seminoles finished last season unranked.
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