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Gonzaga No. 4 in preseason USA Today rankings

UPDATED: Thu., Oct. 25, 2018, 10:24 p.m.

Head coach Mark Few addresses the crowd during Kraziness in the Kennel on Oct. 6. (Libby Kamrowski / The Spokesman-Review)
Head coach Mark Few addresses the crowd during Kraziness in the Kennel on Oct. 6. (Libby Kamrowski / The Spokesman-Review)

Gonzaga will open the men’s basketball season with the program’s highest ranking in the preseason USA Today poll.

The coaches put the Zags at No. 4, eclipsing the 2006 team’s No. 7 ranking. Earlier this week, Gonzaga checked in at No. 3 in the preseason AP poll.

The Zags have been ranked for nine consecutive years in the preseason USA Today poll. They’ve been in the top 20 for six consecutive seasons, including last year’s No. 19. GU went 32-5, advanced to the Sweet 16 and finished at No. 10.

Kansas edged Kentucky for the top spot in the coaches’ poll. The Jayhawks received 14 of the 32 first-place votes and 771 points. The Wildcats earned 12 first-place votes and 761 points. Duke was next with 743 votes, followed by Gonzaga with 699 and Virginia with 656.

Duke picked up four first-place votes. The Zags and Cavaliers both had one.

The top five is the same as the AP version, except GU and Duke flipped spots. Those teams are possible opponents at the Maui Invitational.

Tennessee, North Carolina, Villanova, Nevada and Michigan State rounded out the top 10.

Gonzaga faces Tennessee in Phoenix on Dec. 9 and North Carolina in Chapel Hill on Dec. 15. The Zags and Spartans scrimmage Saturday in Minneapolis.

Washington, which visits GU on Dec. 5, is No. 24. Potential Maui opponent Auburn is No. 12.

Gonzaga’s regular-season opener is Nov. 6 versus Idaho State. The Zags entertain Central Washington in an exhibition game Nov. 1.

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