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Gonzaga keeps climbing in AP poll, moves to No. 13

UPDATED: Mon., Jan. 15, 2018, 3:38 p.m.

Gonzaga coach Mark Few surveys action on the court against Portland last week. The Zags moved up to 13th in the AP poll Monday. (Colin Mulvany / The Spokesman-Review)
Gonzaga coach Mark Few surveys action on the court against Portland last week. The Zags moved up to 13th in the AP poll Monday. (Colin Mulvany / The Spokesman-Review)

Gonzaga plunged from No. 12 to No. 20 after losing at San Diego State on Dec. 21 but three AP polls later the Zags have regained seven spots.

The Zags (16-3) haven’t lost since falling to the Aztecs and their latest 2-0 week pushed them from 15th to 13th in the poll released Monday. GU is No. 13 in the USA Today rankings, up from 14 last week.

Gonzaga moved past fading Arizona State, which slipped from 11th to 16th, and Seton Hall, which dropped six spots to No. 19.

Villanova strengthened its hold on the top spot with a 24-point drubbing of No. 10 Xavier, which fell to No. 11. The Wildcats, 88-72 winners over Gonzaga in December, picked up 63 of 65 AP first-place votes.

Virginia, led by former Washington State coach Tony Bennett, moved into second, followed by Purdue, Oklahoma and Duke. The Sooners soared from ninth after wins over No. 16 TCU and No. 8 Texas Tech. The Red Raiders stayed at No. 8 while the Horned Frogs dropped to No. 24.

West Virginia dropped from second to sixth. Wichita State, Texas Tech, Michigan State and Kansas fill out the top 10. The Spartans dropped five spots after falling to Michigan.

Gonzaga will have an opportunity to impress poll voters this week, not to mention the NCAA Tournament selection committee, when it takes on WCC rival Saint Mary’s (17-2) on Thursday. The Gaels received 19 votes, sixth most among teams outside the top 25.

ESPN.com’s latest NCAA Tournament projections have Gonzaga as a six seed and Saint Mary’s as a nine seed.

The Gaels are No. 43 in NCAA RPI with the Zags at No. 57. No. 78 BYU is the only other WCC team in the top 100. Washington, which lost by 27 to Gonzaga on its home court, is No. 54.

GU’s other top 100 RPI opponents: No. 4 Villanova, No. 22 Ohio State, No. 31 Creighton, No. 40 Florida, No. 51 Texas, No. 62 San Diego State.

The Zags still have one win over an AP ranked opponent, but it’s changed from a week ago. Creighton, which lost to GU 91-74 in early December, dropped out of the poll after a 1-1 week. However, red-hot Ohio State, which lost 86-59 to the Zags in the PK80, debuted at No. 22.

Eleven AP ranked teams lost at least once last week. TCU was the only one to lose twice.

Villanova, Virginia, Purdue, Wichita State and Duke form the coaches’ poll top five. The Wildcats earned 31 of 32 first-place votes.

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