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Sports >  Gonzaga basketball

Gonzaga maintains No. 1 ranking in AP Top 25 for fourth consecutive week

March 7, 2022 Updated Mon., March 7, 2022 at 4:06 p.m.

Gonzaga Bulldogs guard Julian Strawther (0) celebrates after defeating the San Francisco Dons during the second half of a college basketball game on Thursday, Feb 24, 2022, at War Memorial Gym in San Francisco, Calif. Gonzaga won the game 89-73.  (Tyler Tjomsland / The Spokesman-Review)
Gonzaga Bulldogs guard Julian Strawther (0) celebrates after defeating the San Francisco Dons during the second half of a college basketball game on Thursday, Feb 24, 2022, at War Memorial Gym in San Francisco, Calif. Gonzaga won the game 89-73. (Tyler Tjomsland / The Spokesman-Review)

At this juncture of the college basketball season, when a team’s placement within the NCAA’s NET system tends to be more important than where it sits in the Associated Press Top 25, Gonzaga is in a good spot either way.

The Bulldogs continued their streak at the top of the AP poll, checking in at No. 1 for the fourth consecutive week, and they continue to hold the top NET ranking as they enter Monday’s West Coast Conference Tournament semifinal game against San Francisco.

In the 18th version of the Top 25 rankings, Arizona and Baylor held steady at Nos. 2 and 3 respectively, while Auburn moved up one spot to No. 4 and Kentucky climbed two spots to No. 5. Rounding out the top 10 were No. 6 Kansas, No. 7 Duke, No. 8 Villanova, No. 9 Purdue and No. 10 Tennessee.

The NCAA’s NET system has Gonzaga at No. 1 followed by No. 2 Arizona, No. 3 Baylor, No. 4 Kentucky and No. 5 Houston.

While the Bulldogs maintained the No. 1 AP ranking, Arizona, which won a regular season Pac-12 champion under former Gonzaga assistant Tommy Lloyd, began to close the gap between No. 1 and No. 2. The Wildcats went from receiving no first-place votes last week to collecting six this week. Baylor also received three votes. Despite receiving more first-place votes (52) than it did last week, Gonzaga leads Arizona by just 79 points as opposed to 144 points last week.

With the regular season in the rearview mirror, Gonzaga will play meaningful games the rest of the way, starting in the WCC Tournament. The Bulldogs’ semifinal opponent, San Francisco, is receiving four votes in the AP Top 25 after comfortably beating BYU in Saturday’s quarterfinal game. Saint Mary’s, which plays Santa Clara in Monday’s second semifinal game, moved up two spots to No. 17 in this week’s poll.

It was a week of mixed results for Gonzaga’s nonconference opponents, with Duke slipping from No. 4 to No. 7 after losing to North Carolina in coach Mike Krzyzewski’s final game at Cameron Indoor. UCLA moved up four spots from No. 17 to No. 13 after beating USC in a rivalry game, Texas Tech dropped two places to No. 14 after a loss to Oklahoma State, Texas moved up from No. 22 to No. 21 and Alabama dropped out of the poll after losses to unranked Texas A&M and LSU teams.

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