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Gonzaga climbs four spots to No. 15 in AP basketball poll

UPDATED: Mon., Jan. 8, 2018

Gonzaga’s Jeremy Jones is greeted by head coach Mark Few during the first half of Thursday’s 89-59 win over Pepperdine. (JAE C. HONG / AP)
Gonzaga’s Jeremy Jones is greeted by head coach Mark Few during the first half of Thursday’s 89-59 win over Pepperdine. (JAE C. HONG / AP)

Conference play is making a mess of the AP college basketball rankings.

Four of the top five teams lost last week. Fifteen of the top 25 lost at least once.

Gonzaga, which thumped Pepperdine and Loyola Marymount, took advantage of the conference carnage elsewhere and moved up four spots to No. 15. Gonzaga (14-3, 4-0 WCC) shared 19th last week with Cincinnati, which checked in at No. 14.

The Zags jumped one extra spot in the USA Today rankings, climbing from 19th to 14th.

There’s a new AP No. 1 after Michigan State was knocked off by Ohio State, which lost to GU by 27 on a neutral court at the PK80 in Portland. Villanova, an 88-72 winner over the Zags last month in New York City, returned to the top spot after a one-week absence. The Wildcats picked up 52 of the 65 first-place votes.

Villanova is followed by West Virginia, Virginia and Michigan State. No. 2 West Virginia enjoys its highest ranking since Jerry West was a senior in 1959.

Purdue and Wichita State share fifth place. No. 7 Duke, Texas Tech, Oklahoma and Xavier round out the top 10. Texas Tech, which won on the road against Big 12 power Kansas, jumped up 10 spots.

Duke, the preseason No. 1, is 1-2 in the ACC after losing to North Carolina State. No. 11 Arizona State, which climbed as high as No. 3, opened Pac-12 play with two straight losses before edging Utah on Sunday. The only other Pac-12 team ranked is No. 17 Arizona.

Texas A&M, No. 11 last week, dropped out after an 0-2 week. The Aggies are last in the SEC at 0-3. Defending national champion North Carolina slid eight spots to No. 20 after absorbing losses to two ranked teams.

Creighton jumped back into the rankings at No. 25. The Bluejays lost at Gonzaga 91-71 last month. Ohio State and Florida, a 111-105 double-overtime winner over Gonzaga at the PK80, are receiving votes. The Buckeyes share first place in the Big Ten with Purdue.

The USA Today poll has the same top four as the AP – Villanova, West Virginia, Virginia and Michigan State.

Saint Mary’s (15-3), which shares first place in the West Coast Conference with Gonzaga, received 22 votes in the coaches’ poll, fifth most among teams receiving votes. The Gaels didn’t receive a vote in the AP poll.

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