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Sports >  NCAA basketball

Gonzaga, Baylor remain entrenched at the top in college basketball polls, metrics

UPDATED: Mon., Feb. 1, 2021

Gonzaga’s Anton Watson dunks over Pepperdine forward Jan Zidek late in the Zags’ 97-75 victory on Jan. 30 in Malibu, California.  (Associated Press)
Gonzaga’s Anton Watson dunks over Pepperdine forward Jan Zidek late in the Zags’ 97-75 victory on Jan. 30 in Malibu, California. (Associated Press)

The rankings, metrics and bracket projections continue to put Gonzaga and Baylor well ahead of the pack in college basketball.

The Bulldogs (17-0) retained a firm hold on No. 1 in the AP Top 25, collecting 61 of 64 first-place votes and 1,597 points for the second consecutive week. No. 2 Baylor (16-0) had three first-place votes and 1,539 points.

Baylor faces a big challenge to stay among Division I’s three unbeatens.

The Bears tangle with ranked teams in five of their next six games, beginning with No. 6 Texas on Tuesday. Baylor meets No. 9 Oklahoma and No. 13 Texas Tech next week and No. 17 West Virginia twice the following week.

Villanova, Michigan and Houston rounded out the top five. No. 25 Drake (16-0) joined the rankings for the first time since the 2007-08 season.

The Zags have wins over No. 8 Iowa, No. 14 Virginia, No. 17 West Virginia and No. 23 Kansas.

The Jayhawks have dropped 14 spots in the last two weeks. Kansas has the longest active streak (231 weeks) in the AP poll, followed by Gonzaga at 89. Duke’s streak of 91 weeks ended last month. The Jayhawks face Kansas State on Tuesday and West Virginia on Saturday.

Oklahoma soared from No. 24 to No. 9 after becoming just the second team in the last 25 years to defeat three straight top 10 teams. Ohio State climbed six spots to No. 7. The Buckeyes have won six of their last seven, including victories over Wisconsin, Illinois and Michigan State.

No. 1 Gonzaga collected 28 of 32 first-place votes – down one from last week – while No. 2 Baylor received the other four in the USA Today coaches poll. Gonzaga has a 24-point edge over the Bears.

Baylor held the top spot in the NET rankings, used as a primary sorting and seeding tool for the NCAA Tournament, for the third straight Monday. No. 2 Gonzaga is followed by Michigan, Houston and Illinois.

BYU dropped six spots from last Monday after a 1-1 week to No. 38. The rest of the WCC: Saint Mary’s 64, San Francisco 82, Loyola Marymount 118, Pacific 131, Santa Clara 134, Pepperdine 137, San Diego 254 and Portland 307.

Washington State is No. 118, Eastern Washington No. 157 and Idaho No. 344.

The Zags were scheduled to face LMU on Thursday, but the Lions postponed the game due to COVID-19 protocols in their program.

Gonzaga and Baylor are 1-2 in Ken Pomeroy’s metrics. The Zags are first in offensive efficiency and 12th in defensive efficiency. Baylor ranks third in both categories.

ESPN’s Joe Lunardi lists Gonzaga as the top overall seed in the NCAA Tournament, followed by Baylor, Michigan and Villanova. He projects the First Four winner of Prairie View A&M/North Carolina A&T as the Zags’ opening-round opponent.

Lunardi has BYU as a nine seed facing No. 8 Louisville in the first round.

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