Editor's note: Each week, Yahoo! Sports college basketball writer Jason King will rank teams in each of the Big Six conferences plus the best of the rest. Sunday's entry – The Non-Big Six conferences.
(Through Feb. 14 games)
Gonzaga has won both of its games since an embarrassing 18-point loss to Memphis on Feb. 7. Still, despite a pair of victories, the past week wasn’t a good one for the Zags.
On Thursday, Gonzaga escaped with a 72-70 win at St. Mary's thanks to a brutal no-call with nine seconds remaining. That's when Gaels guard Carlin Hughes was pounded while banking in an unlikely 3-pointer that pulled St. Mary's within one. Hughes should've gone to the free-throw line with the chance to force a tie, but a whistle was never blown.
Instead, Mark Few's squad barely squeaked by against a St. Mary's team that continues to play without standout guard Patrick Mills, who has an injured hand.
(Quick aside: It's tough not to feel for the Gaels, who were on the verge of beating Gonzaga in Spokane on Jan. 29 before Mills suffered his injury – and, considering they almost won without him, the Gaels would've stood a better chance with Mills in the lineup Thursday).
Things also got scary for Gonzaga on Saturday night, when it was in danger of losing to a San Francisco squad that's 1-10 in West Coast Conference play.
Gonzaga is too talented to be playing such games against inferior opponents – and, considering all that Memphis lost from last year, there's no way the Tigers should beat the Zags by 18 points in Spokane. At this point it's tough to imagine Gonzaga doing much damage in the NCAA tournament, which is a shame considering the roster is loaded with NBA talent such as Austin Daye and experienced veterans such as Jeremy Pargo, Josh Heytvelt, Micah Downs and Matt Bouldin.
The Zags have Final Four-caliber talent, but they show no signs of being a Final Four-caliber team.
Now, on to the rankings. Last week's rank in parenthesis.
|The Tigers have won their past five league games by an average of 21.4 points. Tough to tell if Memphis is that good or if Conference USA is simply that bad. John Calipari's squad could be in for a tough test Saturday at Texas-El Paso. (1)|
|They haven't come close to reaching their potential – at least not yet – but Gonzaga still appears destined to finish undefeated in the West Coast Conference. Rumors are beginning to swirl about Mark Few and his potential candidacy for the Oregon job. (2)|
|One of the best games of the week will be Butler's out-of-conference showdown at Davidson on Saturday. Gordon Hayward averages 13.8 points and shoots 47.1 percent from 3-point range. (4)|
|The Flyers' victory over Richmond on Saturday was their 17th in a row at the University of Dayton Arena, which is a new record for that venue. Brian Gregory's team has six days off before playing host to St. Louis on Saturday. (6)|
|Hopefully Saturday's blowout of Fordham was a momentum boost for a team that had dropped two straight. There are still plenty of tough games ahead for the Musketeers, who play at St. Joseph's on Feb. 26 and at home against Dayton on March 5. (3)|
|Let's hope the ankle injury that knocked Stephen Curry out of Saturday's win against Furman isn't severe. Not many players in the country – if any – are as exciting as Curry, whose presence will be vital if Davidson hopes to beat Butler on Saturday. (5)|
|The Utes have won six in a row and sit atop the Mountain West standings, but their out-of-conference resume is also impressive. Utah touts wins against Mississippi, Gonzaga and LSU. (9)|
|The Saints have a two-game lead over Niagara in the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference standings, but three of their final four games are on the road. Among Siena's seven losses are setbacks against Tennessee, Kansas, Oklahoma State and Pittsburgh. (NR)|
|9.||Utah State |
|So what if the Aggies' 19-game win streak came to an end against Boise State on Saturday? What Utah State has done this season has still been phenomenal. Saturday's non-conference game at St. Mary's should be entertaining. (7)|