June 18, 2024


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Gonzaga Bulldogs are unanimously #1 in the AP Top 25;  Arizona Wildcats to No. 2

Gonzaga Bulldogs are unanimously #1 in the AP Top 25; Arizona Wildcats to No. 2

Gonzaga is unanimous #1 in a men’s basketball poll conducted by the Associated Press. The way vitriol dominates the West Coast Conference, they are not likely to budge.

Gonzaga remained #1 for the second week in a row, receiving 61 votes from a media panel in the poll released Monday. Arizona climbed to number two for its highest rating in four years, with Auburn, Purdue and Kansas taking the top five.

Gonzaga (23-2, 12-0 World Seniors Championship) continued last year’s march to the National Championship game with another dominant regular season. The Zags have not lost since Dec. 4, and their lopsided win over Pepperdine and Santa Clara last week earned them a snatch. Tenth in a row regular season title of the WCC.

Gonzaga wins WCC games by an average of 27 points, one of the most dominant conference seasons over the past 25 years, according to KenPom.com. Team Zags are marching for Team Match 2019 for the biggest margin of victory in conference games. They have had four of the top five spots on that list in the past 25 years, joined by the 1999 Duke Team.

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“They can win everything,” Pepperdine coach Lorenzo Romare said after the 86-66 loss to Gonzaga on Wednesday. “They have the size and the ability to score and they can guard.”

Gonzaga concludes the regular season with road matches against San Francisco and St. Mary’s before taking the top seed at the West Coast Conference in Las Vegas.

cat climbing

Arizona continues to find ways to win under first-year coach Tommy Lloyd, Gonzaga’s longtime assistant.

The Wildcats (24-2, 14-1 Pac-12) were selected to finish tied for fourth in the Pac-12 Conference, and are 2½ in the game ahead at No. 16 in Southern California with two weeks left in the regular season.

Arizona shrugged off a shaky start Beat Oregon 83-69 Thursday then Overtake Oregon 84-81 In a high-profile match on Saturday.

The wins, along with Auburn’s loss to the Floridas, put the Wildcats directly behind Gonzaga, as Lloyd had coached under Mark Vue in the previous 22 seasons.

“Weird, cool, awesome – I’m so proud of these guys, they have a great team,” Lloyd said. “They’re family, and I think they’re happy for us.”

fall rise

No. 18 in Arkansas had the biggest jump of the week, climbing five points after bombing Missouri and closing in on No. 17 Tennessee. UConn was next, moving up three places to #21 with wins over Seton Hall and Xavier.

Number 22 Ohio State was the biggest drop for teams in the poll, dropping four places after losing to Iowa State. 10 Baylor, No. 11 Providence and No. 15 Illinois lost three places.

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inside and outside

23 St Mary’s returned to the polls after a week-long absence, boosted by wins over San Francisco and BU. No. 25 Iowa ranked first this season after defeating Ohio State.

Michigan pulled out of the No. 19 poll with losses for Pennsylvania and Illinois. The Spartans, ranked in the top 10 earlier this season, lost four out of five.

Wyoming’s first AP Top 25 assignment since 2015 didn’t last long. The Cowboys fell from 22nd place after splitting against the New Mexico and Air Force last week.

Watch the conference

The Big Ten and Southeast Conferences each had five teams ranked in each one, while it was in the Fourteen Great Conferences. The Pac-12 and Big East each had three and the West Coast Conference two with the addition of Saint Mary’s.

The Atlantic Coast Conference, American Athletic, and Ohio Valley Conference all had one ranked team.