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Gonzaga holds down No. 1 in AP poll for third straight week

Gonzaga is No. 1 just about everywhere you look.

The Zags retained the top spot in AP college basketball poll for the third straight week. Gonzaga received 41 of 64 first-place votes from the media panel while No. 2 Virginia picked up the remaining 23.

The Zags have a 13-point edge over the Cavaliers, down from 25 last week.

The poll recognition is nice, but the No. 1s Gonzaga is more concerned about center on the NET rankings and NCAA Tournament seeding.

The Zags (29-2) continue to hold down No. 1 in the NET rankings, which replaced RPI as the selection committee’s primary tool to evalutate NCAA Tournament resumes. The Zags are followed by Virginia, Duke, Houston, Kentucky, Tennessee and North Carolina.

Gonzaga, which takes on eighth-seeded Pepperdine in the WCC Tournament semifinals Monday, is a top seed on countless bracket projections, a few bracketologists suggesting that the Zags could absorb a loss in Las Vegas and still remain a top seed.

The Zags are in the running for the top overall seed, which would likely require winning the WCC Tournament and Virginia losing in the ACC Tournament. However, that scenario opens up the possibility that North Carolina or Duke could vault past Gonzaga if the Tar Heels or Blue Devils claim the ACC Tournament title, particularly with a championship-game victory over the Cavaliers.

ESPN’s Joe Lunardi and CBS Sports’ Jerry Palm project Virginia, Gonzaga, Kentucky and North Carolina as No. 1 seeds, but Lunardi left open the possibility of the Duke, Tennessee and the eventual Big Ten Tournament champion of moving up to the top line.

North Carolina stayed in the third spot in the AP poll, followed by Kentucky, Duke, Michigan State, Texas Tech, Tennessee, LSU and Michigan.

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