Gonzaga Cimbs Into USA Today/ESPN Poll

Nov. 20, 2006

BRISTOL, Connecticut (Ticker) - Coach Mark Few and Gonzaga are on a mission to show that they are more than just Adam Morrison.

The Bulldogs were one of two teams to enter the latest USA Today/ESPN coaches' poll, which was released Monday.

Gonzaga has coped with loss before, but the departure of Adam Morrison - the nation's leading scorer last season - to the NBA after his junior season combined with the graduation of leading rebounder J.P. Batista left some major doubt.

However, the Bulldogs jumped into the poll at No. 23 after starting the season with a 4-0 record. Sophomore forward Josh Heytvelt has picked up the mantle as the leader along with senior point guard Derek Raivio. Together, the duo are averaging 34 points.

That unblemished start will face a major challenge on Wednesday in a matchup against second-ranked North Carolina (3-0) in the semifinals of the NIT Season Tip-Off in Madison Square Garden on Wednesday.

The Tar Heels, who have 738 points, once again trail defending national champion Florida (4-0), which continued to get 30 of 31 first-place votes along with 774 points.

The only other team to receive a first-place vote, Ohio State (4-0) moved up a spot to third with 675 points. The Buckeyes are currently without heralded freshman center Greg Oden, who is sidelined until January after wrist surgery.

Pittsburgh (5-0) dropped a spot to fourth, followed by UCLA (1-0), Louisiana State (2-0), Wisconsin (3-0), Duke (3-0), Alabama (3-0) and Texas A&M (4-0).

Starting the second 10 is Memphis (1-0). Kansas (2-1) dropped nine spots from third to 12th following a surprising 78-71 loss at home to Oral Roberts on Wednesday.

Washington (4-0) is up two spots to 13th, ahead of Syracuse (4-0) and Arizona (2-1).

Georgetown (2-1), which had its 23-game home winning streak at McDonough Arena snapped with a 75-62 loss to Old Dominion on Sunday, fell eight spots in the poll to 16th. Marquette (4-0), Connecticut (4-0), Georgia Tech (3-0) and Nevada (3-0) round out the top 20.

Tennessee (4-0) is 21st, followed by Kentucky (2-0), the Bulldogs, Maryland (5-0) and Texas (3-1).

The Terrapins are also new to the poll, capturing the Coaches vs. Cancer Classic on Friday with a 62-60 triumph over Michigan State.

Boston College, which fell 11 spots following its loss to Vermont, and Creighton both dropped out of the poll.

The USA TODAY/ESPN Coaches Top 25 college basketball
coaches' poll, with number of first-place votes and record
in parentheses, total points and previous ranking:
(Records through November 19, 2006)
    TEAM                                   PTS   PVS
    ----                                   ---   ---
 1. FLORIDA (30) (4-0)                     774     1
 2. NORTH CAROLINA (3-0)                   738     2
 3. OHIO ST (1) (4-0)                      675     4
 4. PITTSBURGH (5-0)                       675     5
 5. UCLA (1-0)                             630     6
 6. LSU (2-0)                              605     7
 7. WISCONSIN (3-0)                        604     9
 8. DUKE (3-0)                             537    10
 9. ALABAMA (3-0)                          464    11
10. TEXAS A&M (4-0)                        446    12
11. MEMPHIS (1-0)                          419    13
12. KANSAS (2-1)                           408     3
13. WASHINGTON (4-0)                       327    15
14. SYRACUSE (4-0)                         267    20
15. ARIZONA (2-1)                          249    16
16. GEORGETOWN (2-1)                       247     8
17. MARQUETTE (4-0)                        243    17
18. CONNECTICUT (4-0)                      222    19
19. GEORGIA TECH (3-0)                     199    21
20. NEVADA (3-0)                           170    23
21. TENNESSEE (4-0)                        140    24
22. KENTUCKY (2-0)                         138    22
23. GONZAGA (4-0)                          111    NR
24. MARYLAND (5-0)                         107    NR
25. TEXAS (3-1)                            104    18
Dropped Out: No. 14 BOSTON COLLEGE, No. 25 CREIGHTON
Others Receiving Votes: BOSTON COLLEGE 96, WICHITA ST 92,
LOUISVILLE 72, MICHIGAN ST 58, XAVIER 50, SOUTHN ILLINOIS
43, ILLINOIS 38, AIR FORCE 34, SAN DIEGO ST 30, MICHIGAN 25,
OKLAHOMA ST 19, TEXAS TECH 11, ORAL ROBERTS 7, VIRGINIA 7,
BUTLER 6, WINTHROP 4, BYU 2, CREIGHTON 2, OREGON 2, GEO
WASHINGTON 1, VIRGINIA TECH 1.

 

 

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