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Gonzaga’s first stint on top of The Associated Press’ college basketball poll lasted through the final Top 25 of the season. The Bulldogs (31-2), the fourth of the four top seeds in the NCAA tournament, were a runaway No. 1 for a third straight week on Monday, receiving 45 first-place votes from the 65-member national media panel. They become the first school from a non-BCS conference to finish No. 1 in the final poll since Massachusetts of the Atlantic 10 in 1996. Louisville, the overall No. 1 seed in the NCAA tournament, is second and got the other first-place votes. Kansas and Indiana — the other No. 1 seeds — are third and fourth followed by Miami, Duke, Ohio State, Georgetown, Michigan State and Michigan/SR. More here.
Washington State is hosting Louisville next Monday and it's Native American Appreciation Night.
Everybody believes Brittney Griner is No. 1, or at least the 6-8 junior makes Baylor No. 1.
Minus Courtney Vandersloot, sportswriters (AP poll) and coaches (ESPN/USA Today poll) don't believe Gonzaga is one of the Top 25 programs in the nation, but the writers for ESPN.com do. They have Gonzaga in at No. 23 as the website Top 25 comes out as part of their season preview. (This goes on all week, so check back. And now there is ESPNW as part of the mix as well.)
There couldn't be a better way to start Halloween than with John Blanchette's column on a big kid that manages to enjoy the spirit of the day despite a few other demands on his time. It's part of what makes Kelly Graves (above, surrounded by his best friends in this Jesse Tinsley photo) so unique - and successful I'd say.
However, the Zags aren't in the preseason Top 25, a reflection of losing All-American point guard Courtney Vandersloot to graduation. An FYI, I'm no longer voting in the Associated Press poll since I will not be employed by The Spokesman-Review after Dec. 31.
Leftcoasthoops shows that the Zags are still pretty highly regarded. They'll certainly get a chance to prove it, going to Stanford for their second game Nov. 13 and getting a visit from USC on Dec. 4. By the way, while at leftcoasthoops, check out the series friend Michelle Smith is doing for ESPNW, a full access look at Stanford. Something tells me that Tara Vanderveer is one of the few coaches of an elite program that would allow that, though I'm sure Kelly Graves would as well.
Washington State is the only Division I team in the area that will play both of its allotted exhibition games. The Cougars played Seattle Pacific on Saturday and got a big boost from Spokane freshman Tia Pressley.
A comprehensive Sports Illustrated/CBS News special investigation found that 16 Boise State players had criminal charges, ranking the Broncos tied for No. 4 among teams in Sports Illustrated's 2010 preseason Top 25. The six-month investigation into 2,837 players found that 7 percent had criminal records and 8.1 percent of scholarship players had been in trouble. Only two of the Top 25 schools did background checks and none checked juvenile records. The investigation looked into players' complete criminal records, not just charges while in college. Pittsburgh (22 players charged) ranked No. 1 with Iowa and Arkansas (18 players charged each) tying for No. 2. Boise State was tied with Penn State/Brian Murphy, Idaho Statesman. More here.
Question: Does this Sports Illustrated story tarnish Boise State's successful 2010 season?
OK, I'm running a little late, but you should see the progress made on the boss' remodel project … crown molding is up. (It pays to have talented friends.)
Anyway, as promised, here's a real story on Washington State's inability to Washington. The bracket for the WCC Tournament. Angie Bjorklund (U-Hi) had a big day for Tennessee on her Senior Day (I happened to see the start on ESPNU before the work started and saw the little ceremony, someone please tell Jim Bjorklund that was one ugly, not-even-Tennessee, orange sweater!)
This week's Top 25 is below..
Going to take care of business, starting with women's basketball, because if have to get in a Top 25 vote, posted below, with other links.
A smattering of women's basketball news today, starting with Gonzaga's return to the Top 25 and Bulldog star Courtney Vandersloot taking another step among the nation's elite, making the midseason Naismith cut (as did Tennessee senior Angie Bjorklund from U-Hi) and winning the local SWABS honor for female athletes.
For the rest, read on.
Totally remiss in my women's basketball duties … enjoying a lovely day downtown on Saturday, especially the walk through the park but the basketball game at the Arena was less satisfying. Today, don't ask but it involved a lot of honey-do's if the Super Bowl gets on the calendar. But first, a Top 25 and roundup of what happened around here. Read on.
There was a lot of women's basketball news on Saturday, including wins by Gonzaga, Idaho and Eastern Washington and a good second half from Washington State, plus some outstanding games by local products. In particular, note the Montana State-Montana game and how rare a Bobcat win in Missoula was until last year. Last year's win in Missoula was a career highlight for Lewis and Clark graduate Lyndi Seidensticker and that was before she had a big game this year.
But as I wait for a couple of ACC upsets or comebacks so I can do my weekly Top 25, I wanted to touch on a subject a Gonzaga fan asked about a couple days ago. Read on.
Stanford showed off its No. 4 ranking in the women's basketball poll, rolling over Washington State in Pullman. My weekly poll is below.
Gonzaga climbed a little in the A.P. poll and a lot in the ESPN/USA Today rankings. The Bulldogs (16-4, 7-0 WCC) are 18th in both polls — up two in A.P. and seven in ESPN/USA Today.
Saint Mary’s dropped out of both polls. In fact, the Gaels went from No. 22 to not receiving a single vote in the A.P. top 25. More here.
ANOTHER UPDATE: Saint Mary’s will entertain nationally ranked Utah State in a BracketBusters’ contest Feb. 21.