Gonzaga No. 1 for program-record fourth consecutive week
Mon., Feb. 20, 2017
Gonzaga is No. 1 in both major college basketball polls for the fourth straight week, eclipsing the 2013 team’s three-week stay as the longest in program history.
The Zags’ lead grew over No. 2 Villanova in both polls while No. 3 Kansas pulled a bit closer to the top two. Gonzaga lost one AP first-place vote to Kansas but still had 1,618 points.
Villanova received the other five first-place votes but dropped from 1,564 points to 1,556. Kansas gained 10 points to reach 1,503.
No. 4 Arizona, No. 5 UCLA and No. 6 Oregon give the Pac-12 Conference three of the top six. Louisville, North Carolina, Baylor and Duke round out the top 10.
In the USA Today poll, Gonzaga’s numbers were the same as last week (29 first-place votes and 797 points). No. 2 Villanova earned the remaining three first-place votes but dropped two points to 768. No. 3 Kansas picked up three points to 738.
Arizona, UCLA, Louisville, Oregon, North Carolina, Baylor and Kentucky complete the top 10 in the coaches’ poll.
The voting totals indicate Gonzaga is solidly entrenched at the top. Kansas barely made up ground despite two impressive comeback wins over highly rated opponents.
The Jayhawks trailed then-No. 9 West Virginia by 14 with 2:45 remaining but rallied to win in overtime. Kansas came back from six down with 3:30 left to knock off former No. 4 Baylor 67-65 on Saturday.
Several of Gonzaga’s non-conference wins are boosting its resume. Arizona, a 69-62 loser to GU in early December in Los Angeles, leads the Pac-12.
Florida, which fell 77-72 to the Zags in late November in Orlando, continues to move up the rankings and shares first place in the SEC with Kentucky. The Gators and Wildcats meet Saturday.
Gonzaga also defeated Iowa State in Orlando. The Cyclones are just outside the AP Top 25 in the receiving votes category.
Saint Mary’s (24-3), which was swept by GU in the regular season, climbed two spots to AP No. 20 and three spots to USA Today No. 18 with wins over Loyola Marymount and BYU.
Gonzaga (28-0, 16-0 WCC) cruised to wins over San Francisco and Pacific last week. The Zags, aiming for an undefeated regular season, visit San Diego (12-16, 5-11) on Thursday and entertain BYU (19-10, 10-6) on Saturday.
Villanova faces a challenging week with visits from No. 22 Butler and No. 23 Creighton. Kansas faces unranked TCU and Texas. Other marquee matchups: Louisville visits North Carolina on Wednesday and Arizona entertains UCLA on Saturday.
Baylor and Virginia are sliding down the rankings. The Bears, who reached No. 1 for the first time in program history on Jan. 9, have dropped four of six, including two heartbreakers to Kansas. Virginia has lost four in a row and six of eight.
Wichita State, riding a 10-game winning streak, made its first appearance this season in the AP poll at No. 25.
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