Arrow-right Camera
Go to e-Edition Sign up for newsletters Customer service
Subscribe now
Sports >  Gonzaga basketball

Gonzaga occupies No. 1 ranking for sixth week; Tommy Lloyd, Arizona up to No. 2 in AP Top 25

UPDATED: Mon., Feb. 21, 2022

Gonzaga Bulldogs center Chet Holmgren (34) hoists the WCC trophy after the Bulldogs defeated the Santa Clara Broncos Saturday in Spokane.  (Tyler Tjomsland / The Spokesman-Review)
Gonzaga Bulldogs center Chet Holmgren (34) hoists the WCC trophy after the Bulldogs defeated the Santa Clara Broncos Saturday in Spokane. (Tyler Tjomsland / The Spokesman-Review)

Gonzaga was a unanimous choice Monday to hold the No. 1 ranking in the Associated Press Top 25, holding the top spot for a sixth week – the most by any team this season – while Arizona has moved up to No. 2 in the national poll, creating another signature moment for Mark Few’s coaching tree.

The Wildcats, who’ve had a resurgent season under first-year coach Tommy Lloyd, the former Gonzaga assistant who left Spokane after 22 seasons, haven’t been as high as No. 2 in the national rankings since Nov. 2, 2017, the week before losing three games at the Battle 4 Atlantis.

According to ESPN researcher Jared Berson, it is just the third time since 2000 that a coach and his former assistant have occupied the top two spots in the AP poll. Ben Howland (UCLA) and Jamie Dixon (Pittsburgh) accomplished the feat in 2006 while Mike Krzyzewski (Duke) and Quin Snyder (Missouri) did it in 2001.

Arizona, which has a three-game lead on UCLA in the Pac-12 standings with only five games to play, is on the precipice of its first regular-season Pac-12 title since 2018. Gonzaga is three days removed from securing its own regular-season crown, beating Santa Clara 81-69 at McCarthey Athletic Center to clinch the outright WCC title.

Gonzaga was No. 1 on each of the 61 AP Top 25 ballots submitted on Monday – the first time that’s happened for any top-ranked team this season. Arizona was ranked No. 2 by 59 of 61 voters on the media panel.

In order to go undefeated in conference play for the third time in four years, Gonzaga (23-3, 12-0) will need to beat third-place San Francisco (21-7, 8-5) this Thursday at War Memorial Gym and second-place Saint Mary’s (22-6, 10-3) on Saturday at University Credit Union Pavilion.

The Gaels fell out of the national rankings two days after a loss to Gonzaga on Feb. 12, but they’ve since won two games against BYU and USF, and cracked the AP poll once again on Monday, checking in at No. 23.

Saturday’s regular season finale in Moraga will be the eighth in series history with both teams ranked. The Zags are 7-0 in such matchups.

Monday’s entire top-10 includes No. 1 Gonzaga, No. 2 Arizona, No. 3 Auburn, No. 4 Purdue, No. 5 Kansas, No. 6 Kentucky, No. 7 Duke, No. 8 Villanova, No. 9 Texas Tech and No. 10 Baylor.

This late in the college basketball season, the AP rankings don’t carry as much significance, especially now that the NCAA selection committee has offered an early glimpse of its top 16 seeds. During Saturday’s reveal on CBS, Gonzaga was staked to the top overall seed and the top seed in the West Region, while Auburn, Arizona and Kansas were also No. 1 seeds.

Later that day, though, Auburn suffered its third loss of the season, falling to Florida on the road – a result that allowed Lloyd’s Wildcats to jump the Tigers for the No. 2 ranking in the AP Top 25. Arizona, which ranks second to Gonzaga among high-major teams in scoring offense, is on an eight-game win streak and has won 13 of its last 14 games.

Gonzaga and Arizona claimed the top two positions in the USA Today Coaches’ Poll also released Monday, though Kentucky edged out SEC rival Auburn for the No. 3 ranking. The Tigers are No. 4 with Kansas taking over at No. 5.

The Spokesman-Review Newspaper

Local journalism is essential.

Give directly to The Spokesman-Review's Northwest Passages community forums series -- which helps to offset the costs of several reporter and editor positions at the newspaper -- by using the easy options below. Gifts processed in this system are not tax deductible, but are predominately used to help meet the local financial requirements needed to receive national matching-grant funds.

Active Person

Follow along with the Zags

Subscribe to our Gonzaga Basketball newsletter to stay up with the latest news.