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Seminoles surge to highest ranking in AP poll since 1972

No. 5 Florida State has won 9 consecutive games, now highest-ranked ACC team

Florida State Seminoles guard M.J. Walker drives to the basket against Miami Hurricanes guard DJ Vasiljevic at the Watsco Center, Jan. 18, 2020, in Coral Gables, Florida.
Florida State Seminoles guard M.J. Walker drives to the basket against Miami Hurricanes guard DJ Vasiljevic at the Watsco Center, Jan. 18, 2020, in Coral Gables, Florida. (WPLG)

CORAL GABLES, Fla. – For the first time since Richard Nixon was president, Florida State is a top-five team.

The Seminoles (16-2, 6-1 Atlantic Coast Conference) are ranked No. 5 in the latest Associated Press top 25 poll released Monday.

Riding a nine-game winning streak, including Saturday’s 81-79 win at rival Miami in overtime, Florida State moved up four spots to secure its highest poll position since 1972. The Seminoles began the 1972-73 season ranked No. 2 in the country.

Florida State has won nine consecutive games and hasn’t lost this calendar year.

Not only are the Seminoles the highest-ranked ACC team, but they are also tied with No. 6 Louisville for first in the ACC standings. They defeated the Cardinals 78-65 earlier this month.

No. 8 Duke is the only other ACC team in the rankings. The Blue Devils were one of four top 10 teams to lose last week. Duke, along with previously undefeated Auburn, lost twice.

“I think it’s similar to what it has been,” Florida State head coach Leonard Hamilton said of the perception that the ACC isn’t as strong as it has been historically. “It’s just that you have a new cast of characters. You know, and sometimes because we’re not one of the more rich traditional programs … the fact that we’re in this position means that something must be wrong.”

Hamilton said after his team’s victory last weekend that he’s not ready to shed the ACC’s status as the premiere basketball league in the country.

“I’m going to wait until the end of the season and let’s see how the dust settles,” he said. “I have a feeling that the ACC will be in their rightful place like they always have been at the end of the season.”