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Gonzaga falls to fourth, Duke back on top in final AP poll

UPDATED: Mon., March 18, 2019

Gonzaga’s Mark Few chats with Saint Mary’s coach Randy Bennett before tipoff of the WCC Tournament championship game. (Tyler Tjomsland / The Spokesman-Review)
Gonzaga’s Mark Few chats with Saint Mary’s coach Randy Bennett before tipoff of the WCC Tournament championship game. (Tyler Tjomsland / The Spokesman-Review)

The final AP college basketball poll of the season mirrors the NCAA Tournament’s No. 1 seed line.

Gonzaga’s three-week stay at No. 1 in the media poll ended with a disappointing 60-47 loss to Saint Mary’s in the WCC Tournament title game last Tuesday. The Zags (30-3) slipped to fourth, one day after receiving the fourth No. 1 seed from the selection committee.

Duke, the tournament’s top overall seed, climbed from fifth to first after Zion Williamson’s return from a knee injury sparked the Blue Devils’ run to the ACC Tournament championship.

Virginia and North Carolina remained in the second and third spots, respectively, which corresponds to their overall seeds in the NCAA Tournament.

Duke collected 58 of 63 first-place votes. Virginia received five and Gonzaga one.

Gonzaga, with 1,398 points, held off No. 5 Michigan State by 16 points.

Tennessee is sixth, followed by Kentucky, Michigan, Texas Tech and Florida State.

Gonzaga is the top seed in the West Region, with Michigan No. 2, Texas Tech No. 3 and Florida State No. 4.

Gonzaga had a two-week run at No. 1 after knocking off Duke 89-87 in the Maui Invitational championship in November. The Zags dropped to fourth after falling to Tennessee 76-73 in Phoenix. A week later, Gonzaga slid to No. 8 following a 103-90 road loss to North Carolina.

The Zags put together a 21-game winning streak to climb back to the top of the poll.

Gonzaga was No. 4 in the final AP poll of the 2017 season. The Zags eventually lost to North Carolina in the NCAA title game.

The ACC holding down the top three spots is believed to be a first in the history of the AP rankings.

In the USA Today rankings, Duke climbed back to the top spot, followed by Virginia, Gonzaga and North Carolina. The Blue Devils had 25 first-place votes, Virginia one, Gonzaga three and No. 5 Tennessee one.

Gonzaga received 667 points, one more than North Carolina.

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