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

Gonzaga rises to No. 12 in AP poll, Gaels at No. 15 before Saturday’s showdown in Kennel

Feb. 20, 2023 Updated Mon., Feb. 20, 2023 at 8:45 p.m.

Gonzaga guard Hunter Sallis drives to the basket against Pepperdine in Saturday's game at Firestone Fieldhouse in Malibu.  (Tyler Tjomsland/The Spokesman-Review)
Gonzaga guard Hunter Sallis drives to the basket against Pepperdine in Saturday's game at Firestone Fieldhouse in Malibu. (Tyler Tjomsland/The Spokesman-Review) Buy this photo

The Gonzaga and Saint Mary’s showdown on Saturday night at the McCarthey Athletic Center will be a clash of top 15 teams.

Gonzaga moved up one spot to No. 12 while the rival Gaels improved two positions to No. 15 in the Associated Press rankings released Monday.

The teams collide at 7 p.m. at the Kennel with West Coast Conference title implications on the line, provided the Zags defeat San Diego (11-17, 4-10 WCC) on Thursday. Saint Mary’s, which faces Pacific on Thursday, holds a one-game lead and defeated the Zags 78-70 in overtime on Feb. 4.

Gonzaga (23-5, 12-2) extended its winning streak to four games since the Saint Mary’s setback with last week’s road victories over Loyola Marymount (108-65) and Pepperdine (97-88).

The Gaels (24-5, 13-1) held off San Diego 62-59 and BYU 71-65.

Houston, coached by former Washington State coach Kelvin Sampson, replaced Alabama at No. 1. The Cougars (25-2) received 48 of 62 first-place votes from the media panel.

The Crimson Tide, beaten by GU 100-90 in Birmingham, Alabama, in December, suffered their first SEC loss, falling to Tennessee 68-59 on Wednesday. Kansas, UCLA and Purdue, which handled the Zags 84-66 in November, rounded out the top five.

Virginia, Arizona, Texas, Baylor and Marquette occupy the bottom half of the top 10. The Zags lost to Texas (93-74) in November and Baylor (64-63) in December. Tennessee, which defeated GU 99-80 in an October exhibition game, is No. 11.

The Zags hold an 88-84 win in November over No. 16 Xavier and also thumped Kentucky, which is receiving votes. The Wildcats and Boise State, led by former GU assistant Leon Rice, both received 12 votes.

In the NET rankings, which would be used to determine the top two seeds for the WCC Tournament if Gonzaga and Saint Mary’s share the regular-season title with 14-2 records, the Zags are No. 10 and the Gaels are No. 7.

The NET top five is Houston, Alabama, Tennessee, UCLA and Purdue. Arizona, guided by former Zags’ assistant coach Tommy Lloyd, is one spot behind Gonzaga at No. 11.

Gonzaga was projected as a four seed (15th overall) by the NCAA Tournament selection committee during its top 16 reveal show Saturday on CBS. Saint Mary’s was just outside the top 16, according to Chris Reynolds, chair of the selection committee.

In the USA Today rankings, the Zags stayed at No. 12 while the Gaels climbed three spots to No. 14. The top five in the coaches poll: Houston, Alabama, UCLA, Kansas and Purdue.

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.