Men's Basketball Just Misses USA TODAY/ESPN Top 25
Nov. 2, 2001
SPOKANE, Wash. - Gonzaga University just missed cracking the USA TODAY/ESPN Top 25 men's basketball pre-season poll released today.
The poll, conducted in a poll 31 coaches from around the country, gave the Bulldogs 52 points. Fresno State University, Gonzaga's opponent in the Fab Four from the Forum in Los Angeles on Dec. 6, is ranked 25th with 98 points. The University of Alabama was the first team listed among others receiving votes with 76.
Defending national champion Duke University received 30 of 31 first-place votes to hold the top spot with 774 points. The University of Illinois, Gonzaga's season-opening opponent Nov. 16 in Champaign, is ranked second with 698 points and one first place vote.
Three teams Gonzaga will definitely meet during the upcoming season are ranked in the Top 25 - Illinois at No. 2, St. Joseph's University at No. 10 and Fresno State at No. 25. Two others - Indiana University and the University of Texas - 21 and 22, respectively - are in the Carrs/Safeway Great Alaska Shootout field Nov. 21-24. Gonzaga, which opens against St. John's University on Thanksgiving Day, is in the same half of the bracket as Texas, which plays Oregon State University in the first round. The University of Tennessee, which received 40 points to rank 31st if the poll was carried out, is also in the Great Alaska Shootout field.
Gonzaga will make a trip to The Pit to play the University of New Mexico in an ESPN Big Monday matchup on Jan. 7, the Lobos receiving 6points in the pre-season balloting.
"I think this just validates how tough our schedule is," Gonzaga head coach Mark Few said.
USA TODAY/ESPN Top 25 Poll
OTHERS RECEIVING VOTES: Alabama 76, GONZAGA 52, Wake Forest 45, Cincinnati 44, Arizona 40, Tennessee 40, Connecticut 34, Xavier 30, Mississippi 18, Wyoming 17, Miami (Fla.) 16, Utah 15, Western Kentucky 15, Valparaiso 12, Butler 11, Arkansas 10, Charlotte 9, Dayton 7, Purdue 7, New Mexico 6, Kent State 5, South Florida 4, Utah State 3, Alabama-Birmingham 1, Arizona State 1, California 1, Illinois State 1, Marshall 1, UC-Irvine 1.
The USA TODAY/ESPN Board of Coaches is made up of 31 Division I head coaches, by agreement with the National Association of Basketball Coaches. The 2001-02 voters: Dana Altman, Creighton, Eddie Biedenbach, North Carolina-Asheville, Jim Boeheim, Syracuse, Rickey Broussard, Nicholls State, Barry Collier, Nebraska, Dick Davey, Santa Clara, Fran Dunphy, Pennsylvania, Jessie Evans, Louisiana-Lafayette, Rob Evans, Arizona State, Patrick Flannery, Bucknell, Tom Green, Fairleigh Dickinson, Dan Hipsher, Akron, Bob Huggins, Cincinnati, Gene Keady, Purdue, Jim Kerwin, Western Illinois, Mack McCarthy, Virginia Commonwealth, Bobby McKillop, Davidson, Rick Majerus, Utah, Joe Mihalich, Niagara, Ron Mitchell, Coppin State, Dave Odom, South Carolina, Oliver Purnell, Dayton, Rick Samuels, Eastern Illinois, Joel Sobotka, Portland State, Kirk Speraw, Central Florida, Bob Thomason, Pacific, Perry Watson, Detroit Mercy, Davey Whitney, Alcorn State, Gary Williams, Maryland, Willis Wilson, Rice, Dennis Wolff, Boston University.
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