Gonzaga has some WCC company in the AP poll with BYU debuting at No. 23, just in time for Saturday’s showdown in Provo, Utah.
The second-ranked Zags and the top four remained in place in Monday’s new poll. Gonzaga (26-1, 12-0 WCC) lost one first-place vote while receiving 1,518 points. Baylor had 1,559 points for a 41-point edge over Gonzaga compared to 37 last week.
No. 3 Kansas picked up the other first-place vote and holds a 30-point cushion over No. 4 San Diego State. The Jayhawks visit Baylor on Saturday. The Bears won the first meeting in Lawrence, Kansas.
Louisville plunged from fifth to 11th after losing to Clemson and Georgia Tech. Dayton and Duke moved up one spot to fifth and sixth, respectively, followed by Maryland, Florida State, Penn State and Kentucky.
Dayton is in the top five for the first time in 64 years. No. 9 Penn State matched the highest ranking in school history accomplished in 1996 and 1954.
BYU (21-7, 10-3) returned to the top 25 for the first time since the end of the 2011 season. The Cougars thumped Loyola Marymount but needed a Yoeli Childs’ dunk in the closing seconds to edge ninth-place San Diego 72-71.
Third-place Saint Mary’s (21-6, 8-4) received four points.
The Zags, who entertain San Francisco on Thursday, hold wins over current No. 14 Oregon, No. 23 BYU and No. 24 Arizona. Gonzaga’s lone loss was to Michigan, third in the receiving votes category.
The top four spots in the USA Today poll remained the same: No. 1 Baylor, No. 2 Gonzaga, No. 3 Kansas and No. 4 San Diego State. Baylor increased its lead over the Zags from 10 points to 16. BYU was second in receiving votes.
Gonzaga slipped one spot to No. 3 in the NET rankings, exchanging positions with Baylor. San Diego State remains at No. 1.
The rest of the WCC: No. 23 BYU, No. 34 Saint Mary’s, No. 99 San Francisco, No. 114 Pacific, No. 135 Santa Clara, No. 136 Pepperdine, No. 204 San Diego, No. 218 Loyola Marymount and No. 276 Portland.
Gonzaga’s best NET victories are over No. 8 Arizona, No. 22 Oregon and No. 23 BYU. Michigan is No. 26.
CBS Sports’ Jerry Palm and USA Today project the Zags will open the NCAA Tournament against South Dakota State in Spokane. ESPN’s Joe Lunardi has Gonzaga facing the winner of the Prairie View A&M-Rider contest.
Palm lists BYU as an eight seed and Saint Mary’s as a nine. Lunardi has BYU as a seven and SMC as a nine. Lunardi projects 11 Big Ten teams and five from the Pac-12 to make the tournament.
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