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Sports >  Gonzaga basketball

Gonzaga stays put at No. 4 in Associated Press poll, Baylor unanimous No. 1

UPDATED: Mon., Jan. 3, 2022

Gonzaga guard Hunter Sallis dribbles past North Alabama’s Damian Forrest during the Zags’ last game on December 28 in Spokane.  (Colin Mulvany/The Spokesman-Review)
Gonzaga guard Hunter Sallis dribbles past North Alabama’s Damian Forrest during the Zags’ last game on December 28 in Spokane. (Colin Mulvany/The Spokesman-Review)

There weren’t many changes in this week’s AP college basketball poll largely because there weren’t many games played in response to rising COVID-19 cases.

The top seven remained the same with Gonzaga holding steady at No. 4 for the third consecutive week. Defending national champion Baylor, which collected all 61 first-place votes, Duke and Purdue held down the top three spots for the fourth straight week.

Gonzaga did get in one game, a 93-63 rout last Tuesday over North Alabama, but its first three WCC games have been postponed in response to COVID-19 concerns. The Zags announced Monday that Thursday’s home contest against San Francisco (13-1) has been called off due to COVID-19 protocols in GU’s program.

The Zags lost some ground to No. 3 Purdue and No. 5 UCLA through not fault of their own. One media voter inadvertently put Georgia, which is 5-8 after consecutive home losses to East Tennessee State and Gardner-Webb, at No. 4 instead of Gonzaga, according to ESPN Stats and Information’s Jared Berson.

Therefore, Gonzaga went from trailing Purdue by 36 points last week to 62. The Zags’ margin over UCLA, which lost to GU 83-63 last month in Las Vegas, slipped from 39 to 27.

The Zags probably won’t move much in the rankings in either direction until they return to the court. Their next scheduled game is Saturday vs. Pepperdine at the McCarthey Athletic Center.

The bottom half of the top 10 is Kansas, USC, Arizona, Auburn and Michigan State. The only movement within the top 10 was Arizona (11-1), led by former GU assistant coach Tommy Lloyd, climbing one spot and Auburn rising two positions.

Gonzaga is 3-2 against ranked foes with wins over UCLA, No. 14 Texas and No. 25 Texas Tech, and lossesto Duke and No. 15 Alabama.

San Francisco was the only other WCC program to receive a vote. The Dons had three points, 10th among teams receiving votes.

For the first time in 40 years, the ACC only had one team (Duke) receive a vote, according to Berson.

Gonzaga remained No. 4 in the USA Today poll, behind Baylor, Duke and Purdue. San Francisco, BYU and Saint Mary’s received votes.

Gonzaga is fourth in Monday’s NET rankings, behind Baylor, Arizona and Houston. The Zags are followed by LSU, Auburn, Purdue, Duke, Kansas and Tennessee. Texas is 12th, Alabama 23rd and Texas Tech 26th.

BYU is No. 30, San Francisco No. 34, Saint Mary’s No. 41 and Santa Clara No. 76. Washington State is No. 61.

Baylor has won 19 straight games since falling to Oklahoma State in the Big 12 Conference Tournament last season. The Bears handled Gonzaga 86-70 in last year’s national championship.

Gonzaga, which opened the season as the favorite to win the national championship at 9/2, remains the favorite at 7/1, followed by Duke at 9/1 and Purdue at 10/1 and Baylor at 12/1, according to BetOnline. Arizona has made one of the biggest moves, going from 66/1 to 16/1. UCLA is 18/1.

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