Gonzaga moves up two spots to No. 17 in AP Top 25

Mar. 11—Gonzaga can thank one of longest oldest rivals, and a future West Coast Conference foe, for its latest bump in the Associated Press Top 25 rankings.

The Bulldogs were idle last week after closing the regular season on March 2 but still moved up two places to No. 17 in the weekly AP poll on Monday, jumping ahead of Washington State after the Cougars lost to Washington in Thursday's Apple Cup.

The week 19 poll was released approximately 10 hours before Gonzaga's tipoff against San Francisco in the West Coast Conference Tournament at Orleans Arena in Las Vegas. The second-seeded Bulldogs (24-6) open against the third-seeded Dons (23-9) at 8:30 p.m. (ESPN2).

Top-seeded Saint Mary's (24-7), which opens the WCC Tournament at 6 p.m. against Santa Clara (20-12), moved up two spots to No. 21 in Monday's poll.

WSU was previously ranked No. 18 before a 74-68 loss to the Huskies in the regular-season finale at Beasley Coliseum.

It's Gonzaga's highest ranking since the Bulldogs checked in at No. 13 on Dec. 26, three days before losing at home against San Diego State. The Aztecs dropped out of the weekly poll on Monday, but three of Gonzaga's nonconference opponents are still occupying spots inside the top 10.

UConn, which beat Gonzaga on Dec. 15 at Climate Pledge Arena, stayed put at No. 2 followed by Purdue at No. 3. The Boilermakers overcame a halftime deficit to defeat the Zags 73-63 in the first round of the Maui Invitational. Coming off an upset of Tennessee in Knoxville, Kentucky moved into the top 10 at No. 9. The Wildcats lost to the Zags 89-85 last month in Lexington, representing GU's first Quad 1 victory.

The complete AP Top 10 is as follows: No. 1 Houston, No. 2 UConn, No. 3 Purdue, No. 4 North Carolina, No. 5 Tennessee, No. 6 Arizona, No. 7 Iowa State, No. 8 Creighton, No. 9 Kentucky and No. 10 Marquette.

Most bracketology projections currently have the Zags opening the NCAA Tournament as either a No. 7 or 8 seed.

On Monday morning, ESPN's Joe Lunardi penciled GU in as a No. 7 seed facing No. 10 Drake in Salt Lake City for the opening round, followed by a potential second-round matchup against former Zag assistant Tommy Lloyd and No. 2 Arizona. Jerry Palm of CBS Sports projects Gonzaga as a No. 8 seed facing No. 9 Texas in Charlotte.

Gonzaga got a bump in the NET rankings, likely as a result of Kentucky's win over Tennessee, and moved up to No. 16 on Sunday morning. The Bulldogs are No. 15 in KenPom.

In the USA Today Coaches Poll, Gonzaga moved up three spots to No. 15 on Monday morning.