MBB Ranked 13th in Preseason AP Poll
SPOKANE, Wash. – The Gonzaga men’s basketball team will begin the season ranked No. 13 by the Associated Press, the fourth-highest preseason AP rank in program history.
The Zags were voted 13th by a 65-member panel that ranked Kentucky at No. 1 with 52 first-place votes. Arizona is second with five first-place votes and Wisconsin was third with eight first-place votes. Duke checked in at No. 4 and Kansas was slated fifth to round out the top five.
The ranking is the fourth-highest to start a season and highest since being 12th to start the 2010-11 season. GU’s 2005-06 team started eighth and the 2008-09 team started 10th. It also marks the 11th time in program history for the Zags to start the season in the top 25 of the AP poll.
Gonzaga is also starts the season ranked 13th in the USA Today Coaches poll and the West Coast Conference coaches’ choice to win the league title.
The Zags return three starters and seven lettermen from last year’s squad that finished 29-7. A healthy Kevin Pangos is back and brings a streak of 103 consecutive starts after battling injuries last season while still putting up 14.4 points per game. GU also returns starters Gary Bell Jr. and Przemek Karnowski. Bell, who missed six games due to injury, averaged 11.0 ppg, and Karnowski turned in 10.4 ppg, 7.1 rebounds per game and a team-leading 1.72 blocks per game.
Gonzaga also welcomes a heralded set of transfers and freshmen. Junior Kyle Wiltjer (Kentucky), senior Byron Wesley (USC) and junior Eric McClellan (Vanderbilt) will all suit up this season for the Zags. GU’s freshman class of Josh Perkins, Domantas Sabonis, Silas Melson and Bryan Alberts are also looking to contribute right away.
Gonzaga opens the season with an exhibition against Thompson Rivers University on Saturday, Nov. 1 at the McCarthey Athletic Center. Tip is scheduled for 6 p.m. and will be televised on KHQ. The first regular season game kicks off four consecutive home games and is on Nov. 14 at 6 p.m. against Sacramento State on ROOT SPORTS/KHQ.
Others receiving votes: Stanford 71, Iowa 58, Colorado 57, UCLA 35, Minnesota 34, Kansas St 27, Arkansas 21, Pittsburgh 20, Memphis 15, NC State 14, Louisiana Tech 9, Cincinnati 8, LSU 8, George Washington 7, Notre Dame 6, Oklahoma St 6, Dayton 6, Georgetown 5, Florida St 5, Maryland 3, Illinois 3, UNLV 2, BYU 2, West Virginia 1, Baylor 1, Stephen F. Austin 1, UTEP 1
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