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Baylor loss opens door to No. 1: Will it be Gonzaga – if it wins at BYU tonight – or Kansas?

UPDATED: Sat., Feb. 22, 2020

Gonzaga head coach Mark Few talks during a timeout against Detroit Mercy on Dec. 30. (Colin Mulvany / The Spokesman-Review)
Gonzaga head coach Mark Few talks during a timeout against Detroit Mercy on Dec. 30. (Colin Mulvany / The Spokesman-Review)

Let the debate begin.

Top-ranked Baylor lost to Kansas 64-61 on Saturday, snapping the Bears’ 23-game winning streak and opening the door for a new No. 1 on Monday. Will it be No. 2 Gonzaga – if it wins Saturday night against BYU – or No. 3 Kansas that steps into the top spot?

Kansas stated its case with an impressive road win over Baylor. The Jayhawks have won 12 straight after losing to Baylor on Jan. 11. The Jayhawks and Bears share first place in the Big 12.

Gonzaga faces one of its toughest challenges of the season against No. 23 BYU in Provo. A victory would give the Zags their fourth win of the season over an opponent ranked at the time.

ESPN’s Dick Vitale on Twitter congratulated Kansas on a major road win, but noted that he would only vote the Jayhawks No. 1 if the Zags lost to BYU.

Gonzaga (27-1) has put together a 19-game winning streak after losing to Michigan in the Bahamas. The Zags were No. 1 for four weeks until dropping to second behind Baylor on Jan. 20, despite clobbering Santa Clara and thumping BYU, then No. 33 in the NET rankings, by 23.

In last week’s AP poll, Gonzaga trailed Baylor by 41 points but held an 84-point edge over the Jayhawks. The Zags received 14 first-place votes and the Jayhawks had one. Baylor had 48 first-place votes.

In the USA Today poll, Baylor was 16 points in front of Gonzaga and had a 21-11 edge in first-place votes. Kansas didn’t have a first-place vote and trailed the Zags by 49 points. The coaches poll has roughly half of the voters of the AP media panel.

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The basketball court at the McCarthey Athletic Center is photographed before an NCAA college basketball game between Gonzaga and BYU, Feb. 25, 2017. (AP Photo/Young Kwak) (Young Kwak / AP Photo)
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