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College basketball poll rankings: South Carolina, Florida Move Into AP Top 25; Kentucky No. 1 again

Kentucky is #1 for the second week in a row.

NCAA Basketball: Brooklyn Hoops Holiday Invitational-South Carolina vs Syracuse Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports

The Kentucky Wildcats are the nation’s top-ranked team for the second week in a row, in the AP poll released Monday morning.

The Wildcats received 40 of 65 possible first-place votes, putting them 23 points ahead of #2 Villanova. Kentucky was not challenged in two wins last week, 101-70 over Cleveland State on Wednesday and 111-76 over Tennessee-Martin on Friday.

But for the first time this season, the Southeastern Conference has more than one team ranked in the top 25. The South Carolina Gamecocks jumped into the AP poll at #20 after not receiving a single vote last week. The Gamecocks are ranked for the first time since February 1 of last season, after a week that saw them beat a pair of top 25 teams: a 61-46 win over Michigan at home, and a 64-50 win over Syracuse in Brooklyn. Michigan fell out of the top 25 this week, though Syracuse is still ranked at #22.

The Florida Gators also moved into the top 25 this week at #24, after a 3-1 week that saw the Gators beat Belmont, Seton Hall, and Miami, sandwiched around a five-point loss to #8 Gonzaga. Florida is ranked for the first time in two years; the Gators were last ranked in the top 25 on November 24, 2014. The AP poll is actually slightly less high on the Gators than advanced metrics; KenPom currently has Florida as the #11 team in the country.