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Gonzaga strengthens grip on No. 1 ranking

UPDATED: Mon., Dec. 3, 2018, 11:17 a.m.

Gonzaga is No. 1 in the AP college basketball poll for the second straight week, and this time it’s not as crowded at the top.

The Zags expanded their lead over second-ranked Kansas following wins over North Dakota State and Creighton. Gonzaga collected 43 first-place votes and 1,578 points compared to the Jayhawks’ 19 and 1,539, respectively.

Gonzaga (8-0) moved into the top spot a week ago by just six points with one more first-place vote than Kansas.

Duke, Virginia and Michigan rounded out the top five, followed by Nevada, Tennessee, Auburn, Kentucky and Michigan State. Duke, which suffered its only loss to Gonzaga in the Maui Invitational, and Virginia each received one first-place vote.

The Zags also bolstered their No. 1 ranking in the USA Today poll. Gonzaga’s two-point edge over Kansas grew to 17 points as the Zags picked up 21 first-place votes, four more than last week. Kansas received 10 first-place votes, losing five from last week.

The Jayhawks were followed by Duke, Virginia and Michigan in the coaches’ poll, mirroring the AP rankings. Kansas (6-0) edged visiting Stanford in overtime in its only game last week.

The Zags, who entertain Washington on Wednesday, face No. 7 Tennessee on Sunday in Phoenix. North Carolina, which entertains Gonzaga on Dec. 15, dropped three spots to No. 14.

Kansas faces Wofford and New Mexico State before a Dec. 15 home showdown against No. 21 Villanova, the defending national champions.

Creighton remained in the receiving votes category in both polls. Arizona, which lost to GU in the Maui Invitational, is receiving votes in the AP poll.

Michigan continued to soar up the rankings, reaching No. 5 after victories over North Carolina and Purdue. The Wolverines, 19th in the preseason poll, have three double-digit wins over ranked opponents, including a 27-point road victory over Villanova.

No. 20 Arizona State, No. 24 Nebraska and No. 25 Furman cracked the rankings while No. 17 Texas, No. 18 Oregon and No. 19 dropped out. Oregon lost to Texas Southern and Houston. Arizona State is the lone Pac-12 representative.

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