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Sports >  Gonzaga basketball

Gonzaga finishes No. 5 in USA Today college basketball rankings

UPDATED: Tue., April 5, 2022

Gonzaga forward Anton Watson (22) drives to the hoop against Arkansas in the Sweet 16.  (Tyler Tjomsland/The Spokesman-Review)
Gonzaga forward Anton Watson (22) drives to the hoop against Arkansas in the Sweet 16. (Tyler Tjomsland/The Spokesman-Review)

Gonzaga’s exit from the NCAA Tournament in the Sweet 16 dropped the Zags from first to fifth in the season-ending USA Today college basketball poll.

No. 1 Kansas, which defeated North Carolina 72-69 Monday to win the national championship, collected all 32 first-place votes in the coaches’ poll. The Jayhawks (34-6) were No. 3 entering March Madness.

North Carolina, third in the receiving votes category outside the top 25 prior to the NCAA Tournament, finished No. 2.

Gonzaga (28-4), the tournament’s top overall seed, fell to Arkansas after reaching its seventh consecutive Sweet 16. The Razorbacks, who lost to Duke in the Elite Eight, improved 10 spots to No. 8.

The Zags have finished in the top 10 in the USA Today rankings each of the past six seasons. They were No. 2 last season behind national champion Baylor, No. 2 in 2020 when the tournament was canceled in response to the COVID-19 pandemic and No. 2 in 2017 after falling to North Carolina in the championship game.

Kansas was the only No. 1 seed to reach the Final Four after Arizona, coached by former Gonzaga assistant Tommy Lloyd, lost to Houston in the Sweet 16 and Baylor lost to North Carolina in the second round.

Kansas slipped from second to sixth. Baylor dropped five spots to No. 9.

Duke, which lost to rival North Carolina at the Final Four, finished No. 3, followed by Villanova. Kansas defeated Villanova on Saturday.

UCLA finished No. 11 and Texas Tech was 12th. Gonzaga routed UCLA in November in Las Vegas and defeated Texas Tech in December in Phoenix.

Saint Mary’s, which lost two of three meetings against the Zags, dropped four spots to No. 20 after falling to UCLA in the second round.

Boise State, led by former GU assistant Leon Rice, received nine points. San Francisco received four points.

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