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Sports >  Gonzaga basketball

No. 1 Gonzaga might get comfortable at the top

UPDATED: Mon., Dec. 28, 2020

Gonzaga coach Mark Few reacts during the second half of the Zags' 81-77 win over San Francisco in the WCC tournament semifinals last March.  (By Tyler Tjomsland / The Spokesman-Review)
Gonzaga coach Mark Few reacts during the second half of the Zags' 81-77 win over San Francisco in the WCC tournament semifinals last March. (By Tyler Tjomsland / The Spokesman-Review)

Gonzaga has a tight grip on No. 1 in the AP college basketball poll and it’s probably going to take a major upset for that to change.

Gonzaga was one point in front of No. 2 Baylor in the preseason poll. The Zags have 62 first-place votes and 1,598 points in the latest rankings. The second-ranked Bears (6-1) received two first-place votes and 1,537 points.

Gonzaga (7-0) has handled the toughest portion of its regular-season schedule. The Zags crushed No. 16 Virginia 98-75 on Saturday in Fort Worth, Texas, their most lopsided win over a ranked opponent under coach Mark Few.

It was GU’s fourth victory over a ranked opponent this season. The Zags defeated then No. 6 Kansas 102-90, No. 11 West Virginia 87-82 and No. 3 Iowa 99-88. The Jayhawks have won eight straight to climb to No. 3. West Virginia, which lost to Kansas last week, is No. 9 and Iowa slipped six spots to No. 10 after falling to Minnesota.

Barring a schedule change, the Zags might not face another ranked team in the regular season. BYU, picked to finish second in the WCC preseason poll, could change that if it keeps winning. The Cougars (9-2) received 10 points in the AP poll, 12th among teams receiving votes outside the top 25.

Saint Mary’s, third in the WCC preseason poll, is 8-2 and received two points in the USA Today rankings.

The Zags open WCC play against San Francisco (6-4) on Saturday. In the last decade, Gonzaga has gone unbeaten in conference in 2013 and 2019. The Zags were 29-0 before losing to BYU in 2017 regular-season finale.

Meanwhile, Baylor has a pair of Big 12 Conference games against No. 3 Kansas, No. 8 Texas (provided a make-up date is found for a postponed Dec. 13 game), No. 9 West Virginia and No. 13 Texas Tech.  

Gonzaga has been in the top spot for seven weeks, counting the preseason rankings, the longest stint in program history. GU was No. 1 for five weeks in the 2018-19 season.

The Big Ten Conference has nine ranked teams, led by No. 6 Wisconsin. No. 21 Oregon (6-1) is the lone Pac-12 program in the top 25.

Gonzaga continues to hold down the top spot in the USA Today rankings with 29 of 32 first-place votes and 797 points. No. 2 Baylor had three first-place votes and 771 points.

The Bears were No. 1 and the Zags No. 2 in the coaches’ preseason poll. Gonzaga moved into the top spot after a 3-0 start that included wins over Kansas and West Virginia.

Villanova, Kansas, Houston, Tennessee, Wisconsin, West Virginia, Texas and Creighton rounded out the top 10. Iowa is 11th and Oregon is 17th.

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