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Sports >  Gonzaga basketball

Gonzaga tightens grip on No. 1 ranking

Dec. 30, 2019 Updated Mon., Dec. 30, 2019 at 10:17 p.m.

Gonzaga didn’t play but still managed to strengthen its hold on No. 1 in the AP college basketball poll.

The Bulldogs, who returned to action against visiting Detroit Mercy on Monday night, landed 63 of 65 first-place votes from the media panel. No. 2 Duke and No. 3 Kansas each received one first-place vote.

The Zags are 105 points in front of the Blue Devils. Gonzaga (13-1) has already matched the two-week stays by Duke and Louisville as the longest stints at the top this season.

Barring an upset, Gonzaga could stay No. 1 for a while. The Zags will probably be favored in every WCC contest and should be heavy favorites in their first five contests against Portland, Pepperdine, San Diego, Loyola Marymount and Santa Clara before entertaining BYU on Jan. 18.

Ohio State and Louisville, GU’s closest pursuers last week, both lost games over the weekend. West Virginia knocked off Ohio State, dropping the Buckeyes from second to fifth. Louisville lost at Kentucky and slipped from third to seventh.

Oregon, which lost to Gonzaga at the Battle 4 Atlantis last month, climbed up to fourth. The Zags’ only other win over a current Top 25 team came against No. 25 Arizona. Washington is fourth in receiving votes.

The WCC’s Saint Mary’s (28 points) and BYU (2) both received votes.

Gonzaga is the top No. 1 seed, according bracketologist Joe Lunardi. He projects GU, Saint Mary’s and BYU as NCAA Tournament teams.

The Zags are No. 6 in the NET rankings. San Diego State, Kansas, Ohio State, Butler and Auburn are the first five. San Diego State and Auburn are the only unbeatens left in Division I. Saint Mary’s is No. 31 and BYU No. 36.

Gonzaga remained No. 1 after receiving 30 of 32 first-place votes in the USA Today poll. No. 2 Duke and No. 3 Kansas both received one first-place vote.

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