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Gonzaga sixth in season’s first RPI rankings

Gonzaga University is sixth in the first RPI men’s basketball rankings of the season released by the NCAA on Monday.

RPI stands for Ratings Percentage Index and rates every men’s college basketball team on a weighted scale, factoring in such things as a team’s winning percentage, its opponents’ winning percentage and the winning percentage of those opponents’ opponents. In 2004, the RPI was modified to account for differences in home and away games.

Eight teams on Gonzaga’s schedule have an RPI in the top 100 – Michigan State (8), fellow West Coast Conference foe Saint Mary’s (24), Illinois (25), Arizona (56), Oral Roberts (64), Butler (89), Xavier (58) and first-year WCC member Brigham Young (66).

The Bulldogs defeated Arizona, Oral Roberts, Butler and Xavier; lost to Illinois and Michigan State; and have yet to play Saint Mary’s and BYU.

The Bulldogs are behind Syracuse, Duke, Connecticut, Seton Hall and Baylor. Trailing Gonzaga are Kentucky, MSU, Ohio State and Georgetown to round out the top 10. There are 344 teams in NCAA Division I men’s basketball.

Washington is 82nd, Washington State 112, Eastern 129 and Idaho 242.

Back in the AP poll

Gonzaga is back in the Associated Press Top 25 poll men’s basketball after a month-long absence.

The Bulldogs, riding a six-game winning streak to go to 11-2, checked in at No. 25 this week following a 72-65 victory at Xavier last Saturday. It was the first time Xavier, which had been ranked as high as eighth this season, had been back at full strength since a brawl against Cincinnati in mid-December led to several suspensions to players from both teams.

San Diego State is 24th with 196 points, while the Bulldogs garnered 121 points.

The Zags did not break into the ESPN/USA Today Top 25 coaches poll, just missing the No. 25 spot with 57 points, three behind No. 25 SDSU.

Syracuse is No. 1 in both polls for a fourth straight week, receiving 60 of 65 first-place votes from the media panel in the AP poll and 30 of 31 first-place nods from the coaches. Kentucky got the remaining first-place votes in both polls.

The Bulldogs, 1-0 in the West Coast Conference following a post-Christmas victory over Portland, is home for two WCC outings this week. Pepperdine visits Thursday followed by Santa Clara on Saturday.

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