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Gonzaga cracks AP top 10 at No. 9; Saint Mary’s drops to 15th

UPDATED: Mon., Feb. 12, 2018, 10:54 p.m.

Gonzaga coach Mark Few yells instructions to his players against BYU on Feb. 3. (Dan Pelle / The Spokesman-Review)
Gonzaga coach Mark Few yells instructions to his players against BYU on Feb. 3. (Dan Pelle / The Spokesman-Review)

Gonzaga’s road win over Saint Mary’s and another chaotic week in college basketball sent the Zags back into the AP top 10 for the first time since the 2017 postseason.

The Zags (23-4) moved up three spots after handling the Gaels 78-65 on Saturday. Gonzaga trails No. 8 Ohio State, which lost to the Zags 86-59 at the PK80, by 31 points.

Saint Mary’s (24-3) slipped four spots to No. 15. The Zags and Gaels share first place at 13-1 in the WCC with four regular-season games remaining.

Gonzaga was ranked No. 2 in the AP’s 2017 postseason poll.

Virginia, led by former Washington State coach Tony Bennett, is the new No. 1, despite a loss to Virginia Tech. The Cavaliers haven’t been No. 1 since Ralph Sampson’s senior season in 1982-83. The Cavaliers picked up 30 first-place votes, nine more than No. 2 Michigan State.

Villanova, which thumped Gonzaga 88-72, dropped from first to third but still received nine first-place votes. Xavier is fourth, followed by Cincinnati, Purdue and Texas Tech. Ohio State jumped up six spots to No. 8.

Seven of the top 10 and 16 of the top 25 lost at least once last week. No. 3 Purdue dropped two games. No. 7 Texas Tech was the only team to stay in the same spot from a week ago. Defending national champion North Carolina soared seven spots to No. 14. Oklahoma slipped six spots to No. 23.

Michigan State took over the top spot in USA Today rankings, followed by Villanova, Virginia and Xavier. Only 44 points separated the top four.

Gonzaga climbed three spots to No. 8 while Saint Mary’s fell three positions to No. 15.

The Zags (23-4) opened at No. 18 in the AP preseason poll and worked their way up to No. 12 for a few weeks. They plunged eight spots after falling to San Diego State before Christmas.

Gonzaga climbed back to 13th before losing to Saint Mary’s on Jan. 18 in Spokane. The Zags have ripped off seven straight wins.


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