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Sports >  Gonzaga basketball

Gonzaga gains ground, but stays at No. 2 in AP poll behind North Carolina

Nov. 14, 2022 Updated Mon., Nov. 14, 2022 at 9:51 p.m.

Gonzaga forward Ben Gregg, center, defends in the lane against Michigan State’s Jaden Akins in the first half of the Zags’ 64-63 win Friday on the flight deck of the USS Abraham Lincoln aircraft carrier.  (COLIN MULVANY/THE SPOKESMAN-REVIEW)
Gonzaga forward Ben Gregg, center, defends in the lane against Michigan State’s Jaden Akins in the first half of the Zags’ 64-63 win Friday on the flight deck of the USS Abraham Lincoln aircraft carrier. (COLIN MULVANY/THE SPOKESMAN-REVIEW)

Gonzaga gained a little ground on top-ranked North Carolina, but remains No. 2 in the first regular-season poll of the college basketball season.

The Zags (2-0) earned 14 first-place votes and trail the Tar Heels (2-0) by 46 points in the Associated Press rankings released Monday.

North Carolina, which held a 53-point edge in the preseason poll, slipped from 47 first-place votes to 44.

There was little movement in the AP poll with most teams playing buy games at home in the opening week of the season. One of the exceptions was Gonzaga’s 64-63 win over Michigan State on Friday in a matchup of two traditional powers.

The Spartans, who received 39 points in the preseason poll, improved to 119 and nearly cracked the rankings. No. 25 Connecticut had 124 points.

No. 3 Houston and No. 4 Kentucky remained in place behind the top two. Gonzaga faces Kentucky on Sunday at the Spokane Arena.

The Wildcats (2-0) earned three first-place votes and Houston had two.

Baylor, which meets Gonzaga on Dec. 2 in South Dakota, is fifth, followed by Kansas, Duke, UCLA, Arkansas and Creighton. The Razorbacks and Bluejays switched spots from the preseason poll.

Texas, which entertains the Zags on Wednesday in Austin, moved up one spot to No. 11. Arizona, coached by former Gonzaga assistant Tommy Lloyd, climbed three spots to No. 14.

Alabama, which takes on GU on Dec. 17 in Birmingham, moved from No. 20 to No. 18. Tennessee, which handled Gonzaga 99-80 in an exhibition game, tumbled 11 spots to No. 22 after losing to Colorado.

Saint Mary’s, picked second behind Gonzaga in the WCC preseason coaches poll, received seven votes.

Oregon, upset at home by UC Irvine, and Villanova, which lost to Temple, were the only teams to fall out of the Top 25.

Gonzaga remained second in the USA Today coaches poll behind North Carolina. The Zags are 28 points behind the Tar Heels after a 19-point margin in the preseason rankings.

Kentucky is No. 4, Texas No. 11 and Michigan State No. 25. Saint Mary’s received 14 points.

It’s a small sample size, but Kentucky, Texas and Gonzaga are 1-2-3 in KenPom’s rankings. Baylor is sixth, Tennessee seventh, Arizona 13th, Alabama 14th, Saint Mary’s 24th and Michigan State 27th.

Gonzaga was No. 1 in seed list projections by ESPN’s Joe Lunardi. The Zags are followed by Houston, Kentucky, North Carolina, Baylor and Texas.

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