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Gonzaga Basketball

Gonzaga jumps four spots to No. 7 in AP Top 25 poll; Bulldogs debut at No. 31 in NET rankings

Gonzaga Bulldogs forward Braden Huff (34) cheers with guard Dusty Stromer (4) after they defeated USC during the second half of a college basketball game on Saturday, Dec. 2, 2023, at the MGM Grand Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, Nev. Gonzaga won the game 89-76.  (Tyler Tjomsland / The Spokesman-Review)

In the days and hours leading up to Gonzaga’s neutral-site showdown against USC on Saturday, a handful of the nation’s top college basketball teams dropped games to unranked opponents.

The Bulldogs avoided a similar fate, handling the Trojans 89-76 in Las Vegas, and were rewarded in the latest edition of the Associated Press Top 25 poll.

After teams in the top-10 combined to lose seven games last week, Gonzaga moved up four spots to No. 7 in Monday’s poll. It’s the first time the Bulldogs, who’d previously spent four weeks stuck at No. 11, have cracked the top-10 since finishing the 2022-23 season at No. 9 in the poll. 

Arizona, led by former Gonzaga assistant Tommy Lloyd, took over the top spot in the AP poll after No. 1 Purdue lost to Northwestern. Rounding out a top-10 that underwent significant change are No. 2 Kansas, No. 3 Houston, No. 4 Purdue, No. 5 UConn, No. 6 Baylor, No. 7 Gonzaga, No. 8 Marquette, No. 9 North Carolina and No. 10 Creighton.

The Boilermakers were one of six top-10 teams to lose, along with Marquette, UConn, Miami, Tennessee and Duke, which dropped a pair of games last week.

Gonzaga didn’t grade out as well in the first edition of the NCAA’s NET rankings, which are used as the primary sorting tool to seed teams for the NCAA Tournament.

Despite their 6-1 record, and three wins over high-major programs – all three of which came at neutral-site venues – the Bulldogs debuted at No. 31 in Monday’s NET ranking.

The Zags have played just one Quad 1 game so far, losing to Purdue at the Maui Invitational, but they’re 1-0 in Quad 2 games, 2-0 in Quad 3 games and 1-0 in Quad 4 games.

The top-10 teams in NET are as follows: No. 1 Houston, No. 2 BYU, No. 3 Arizona, No. 4 Creighton, No. 5 Purdue, No. 6 Baylor, No. 7 Colorado State, No. 8 Princeton, No. 9 UConn and No. 10 Marquette.

Gonzaga has a pair of upcoming games against teams ranked higher than the Bulldogs in NET, facing No. 9 UConn on Dec. 15 at Climate Pledge Arena in Seattle before hosting No. 24 San Diego State. 

The Huskies and Aztecs also represent GU’s final opportunities to face AP Top 25 teams before West Coast Conference play starts. UConn dropped just one spot to No. 5 in Monday’s AP poll after losing to Kansas and SDSU held steady at No. 25 after wins over Point Loma Nazarene and UC San Diego.

Another future nonconference opponent, Kentucky, tumbled four spots to No. 16 in the poll after an upset loss to UNC Wilmington on Saturday at Rupp Arena.

Gonzaga moved up two spots to No. 8 in Monday’s USA Today Coaches’ Poll.