Zags Up To Fifth In AP Top-25 Poll After Old Spice Sweep
Dec. 1, 2008
WASHINGTON D.C. (AP) - The Gonzaga University men's basketball team moved up to a season-high fifth in the latest Associated Press Top-25 Poll after posting a 3-0 record and claiming the Old Spice Classic title over the weekend. The Bulldogs beat Oklahoma State University 83-71 on Thursday, the University of Maryland 81-59 on Friday and No. 12 University of Tennessee 83-74 to claim the title on Sunday and improve to 5-0 on the season.
Gonzaga won its first regular-season tournament since capturing the BB&T Classic hosted by the University of Maryland in December, 2003. The Bulldogs also defeated a non-conference ranked opponent for the first time since Jan.31, 2007, when they beat No. 23 Stanford 90-86 in double overtime.
This week the Bulldogs travel to Indianapolis, Ind. to match up with the University of Indiana as part of the Basketball Hall of Fame Challenge held at Lucas Oil Stadium on Saturday.
The Big East was considered the country's deepest conference this season, and it was proven Monday as Syracuse moved into the Top 25, giving the Big East a record eight teams in The Associated Press' college basketball poll. North Carolina (7-0) remained the unanimous No. 1 selection of the 72-member national media panel, while No. 2 Connecticut and No. 3 Pittsburgh started the Big East's collection of ranked teams. Also ranked from the 16-member league were No. 7 Notre Dame, No. 11 Louisville, No. 16 Syracuse, No. 17 Villanova, No. 20 Georgetown and No. 25 Marquette.
A week of early season tournaments saw quite a few changes in the rankings with Baylor moving in at No. 24 while defending national champion Kansas and Wisconsin fell out. North Carolina won the EA Sports Maui Invitational last week, defeating Notre Dame 102-87 in the championship game behind reigning national player of the year Tyler Hansbrough, who had been battling leg injuries. He sat out Sunday's 116-48 win over UNC-Asheville for precautionary reasons.
Connecticut (6-0) won the Paradise Jam with a 76-57 win over Wisconsin, while Pittsburgh (7-0) won the Legends Classic with a 57-43 victory over Washington State. Pittsburgh moved up one spot to replace Louisville (2-1), which fell to No. 11 following a 68-54 loss to Western Kentucky.
Duke, which beat Duquesne in its only game last week, jumped three places to No. 4, while Gonzaga moved up four spots after winning the Old Spice Classic with an 83-74 victory over Tennessee. The rest of the top 10 was Duke, Gonzaga, Oklahoma, Notre Dame, Texas, Purdue and Tennessee.
Oklahoma, which beat Purdue 87-82 in overtime in the title game of the NIT Season Tip-Off, jumped five places to No. 6 Notre Dame, which beat Texas before losing to North Carolina at Maui. Texas dropped two places to eighth, while Purdue moved up one spot to ninth and Tennessee still improved one place to round out the Top Ten.
Louisville was 11th followed by UCLA, Michigan State, Xavier, Wake Forest, Syracuse, Villanova, Memphis, Arizona State and Georgetown.
The last five ranked teams were Miami, Davidson, Florida, Baylor and Marquette.
Michigan State's fall from fifth to 13th followed its 80-62 loss to Maryland in the opening round of the Old Spice Classic, while Marquette's drop from 15th to No. 25 came after an 89-75 home loss to Dayton.
Syracuse (6-0), which was ranked for one week last season, won the CBE Classic, beating Florida in the semifinals and Kansas in the championship game. Baylor (6-1) was ranked for two weeks last season, the school's first poll appearance since 1968-69. It beat Arizona State in the 76 Classic semifinals then lost 87-84 to Wake Forest in the title game. Kansas (4-1), which lost all but two players from the team that won it all in April, fell out from No. 22 after the overtime loss to Syracuse in the championship game in Kansas City.
Wisconsin (5-1) bounced back from the loss to Connecticut with a 67-46 victory over Wisconsin-Milwaukee but still dropped out from No. 25.
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