Gonzaga climbs to No. 12, Saint Mary’s moves up to No. 18 in AP poll ahead of WCC showdown in Moraga
Jan. 30, 2023 Updated Tue., Jan. 31, 2023 at 6:02 p.m.
Gonzaga and Saint Mary’s will both hold top-20 rankings when the Bulldogs and Gaels meet for the first time this season.
The Bulldogs moved up two spots in Monday’s Associated Press Top 25 poll after pulling away from Portland for an 82-67 win on Saturday at the Chiles Center. The Gaels jumped from No. 22 to No. 18 after edging out BYU 57-56 on Aidan Mahaney’s game-winning jumper.
Gonzaga was ranked No. 1 and Saint Mary’s No. 23 before the teams met in Moraga last season in the regular-season finale. The top-ranked Bulldogs and 17th-ranked Gaels then met approximately two weeks later in the championship game of the WCC Tournament.
The Zags will enter Saturday’s game at UCU Pavilion with a higher AP ranking than the Gaels, but Saint Mary’s trumps Gonzaga when it comes to the NCAA’s NET system. The Gaels are No. 6 in NET while the Zags sit at No. 14.
Purdue gained unanimous support from AP voters as the No. 1 team in the country after improving to 21-1. The Boilermakers have just one loss since beating the Zags 84-66 in the second round of the Phil Knight Legacy tournament in Portland.
Tennessee, which beat Gonzaga in a preseason exhibition, moved up to No. 2 in this week’s poll, followed by No. 3 Houston, No. 4 Alabama and No. 5 Arizona. The Crimson Tide retained a top-five ranking despite Saturday’s 93-69 loss to Oklahoma – Alabama’s first since losing to Gonzaga 100-90 on Dec. 17 in Birmingham.
Three of Gonzaga’s other nonconference opponents held onto top-20 spots. Texas didn’t move from No. 10 after splitting with Oklahoma State and Tennessee, Baylor moved up six spots to No. 11 with wins over Kansas and Arkansas and Xavier dropped three spots to No. 16 after beating UConn and losing to Creighton.
Gonzaga didn’t move in the USA Today Coaches Poll, holding steady at No. 14, while Saint Mary’s moved up four spots to No. 18.
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