Florida Gators and Billy Donovan Seeking School-Record 18th Consecutive Win

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Florida Gators and Billy Donovan Seeking School-Record 18th Consecutive Win
Phil Sandlin/Associated Press

The Florida Gators men's basketball team will be seeking a school-record 18th consecutive win in Wednesday's home game against the Auburn Tigers (12-11, 4-8 SEC). The Gators (23-2, 12-0 SEC) matched a program record with their 17th straight victory on Saturday, knocking off a strong Kentucky team (19-6, 9-3) that ranks No. 18 in the latest AP poll.

Florida currently holds the No. 2 spot in the AP rankings, and the Gators even garnered a lone first-place vote in the latest poll, preventing undefeated Syracuse (25-0, 12-0 ACC) from being the unanimous No. 1 for a third consecutive week.

'Cuse has escaped the jaws of defeat on a number of occasions this season, winning six of its 12 conference games by six points or fewer, including the last two contests.

Florida, meanwhile, has won each of its last seven games by nine points or more, and only two of the Gators' 12 conference games have been decided by a margin of less than seven points.

Of course, Florida plays in a soft SEC that may only produce two NCAA tournament teams, while the ACC—Syracuse's new conference—figures to send five or six teams to the tourney.

There's little doubt that Syracuse would be the No. 1 overall seed if the season ended today, but the Gators still have time to make up the difference—with road matchups against Duke and Virginia still on Syracuse's schedule, plus the always-tricky ACC tournament, the Orange could conceivably enter the NCAA tourney with three or four losses.

Even if the Gators fail to capture the No. 1 overall seed, they can take some comfort in knowing that the last two Florida teams to win 17 consecutive games took home the National Championship.

On the way to back-to-back championships, the 2005-06 and 2006-07 Gators teams both saw their season-long winning streaks end at 17 games. 

With Wednesday's opponent (Auburn) owning a 4-8 conference record, the 2013-14 Gators will likely win an 18th consecutive game, accomplishing a feat that coach Billy Donovan's two championship teams couldn't.

The Gators better be careful, however, as both of those title-winning teams lost their streaks to unranked SEC opponents.

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