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Seminoles only ranked Florida team in AP preseason poll

No. 21 Florida State looks to keep momentum after best finish in school history
Florida State Seminoles basketball players Malik Osborne, RaiQuan Gray and Devin Vassell celebrate vs. Notre Dame Fighting Irish in January 2020
Posted at 2:11 PM, Nov 09, 2020
and last updated 2020-11-09 14:11:39-05

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — Florida State is officially on top of the college basketball world when it comes to the Sunshine State.

The Seminoles, fresh off their highest final ranking in school history, enter an uncertain 2020-21 season as the only ranked Florida team in the preseason Associated Press top 25 poll released Monday.

Florida State is ranked No. 21 behind three other Atlantic Coast Conference teams -- No. 4 Virginia, No. 9 Duke and No. 16 North Carolina.

Gonzaga took the top spot in the preseason rankings for the first time ever, besting No. 2 Baylor by a single point. The Bulldogs earned 28 first-place votes.

Baylor (24), Villanova (11) and Virginia (1) were the only other schools to receive first-place votes.

The Big Ten Conference has the most representation in the preseason poll with seven ranked teams -- No. 5 Iowa, No. 7 Wisconsin, No. 8 Illinois, No. 13 Michigan State, No. 23 Ohio State, No. 24 Rutgers and No. 25 Michigan.

Florida was the only other Sunshine State school to sniff the rankings, falling into the "others receiving votes" category.

The Seminoles were 26-5 and 16-4 in ACC play last season. They have finished with a top-10 ranking in each of the last two final AP polls, which are determined prior to the NCAA tournament.

Florida State Seminoles 2019-20 ACC basketball champions
Florida State players gather with the championship trophy after they were announced the winner of the Atlantic Coast Conference tournament after it was canceled, Thursday, March 12, 2020, in Greensboro, N.C.

Last year's No. 4 finish was Florida State's highest ranking since December 1972, when the Seminoles started the 1972-73 season No. 2 in the country.

FSU was in the midst of an historic run last season until the coronavirus pandemic brought it to a screeching halt. The Seminoles won the ACC regular-season title for the first time in program history and claimed the official ACC championship after the conference tournament was abruptly canceled in March.

Leonard Hamilton all smiles after Florida State Seminoles win 2020 ACC regular-season championship
Florida State's head coach Leonard Hamilton celebrates with his players after their school's first-ever ACC regular-season championship after a game against Boston College, Saturday, March 7 2020, in Tallahassee, Fla. Florida State won 80-62.

The Seminoles lose several key players from a season ago, including Trent Forrest, Devin Vassell and Patrick Williams. However, head coach Leonard Hamilton, entering his 19th season in Tallahassee, returns players like fourth-year juniors RaiQuan Gray from Fort Lauderdale and Anthony Polite from Switzerland.

FSU is also expecting an immediate contribution from coveted recruit and former Cardinal Newman High School star Scottie Barnes, who spent last season at Montverde Academy in central Florida.

Scottie Barnes, Montverde Academy basketball player and Florida State recruit
Montverde Academy's Scottie Barnes, who once played for Cardinal Newman High School, shoots a free throw against IMG Academy during a high school basketball game at the Hoophall Classic, Sunday, January 19, 2020, in Springfield, Mass. Barnes has committed to play college basketball at Florida State.

Click here to see the complete AP poll.