See where rising WSU, Gonzaga are in new AP men’s hoops top 25

Mar 4, 2024, 11:21 AM

WSU basketball Rueben Chinyelu...

WSU basketball player Rueben Chinyelu during a Feb. 15, 2024 game. (AP Photo/Young Kwak)

(AP Photo/Young Kwak)

For the second straight week, both the WSU Cougars and Gonzaga Bulldogs rose in the men’s basketball top 25 poll put out by The Associated Press.

In fact, the two teams from the 509 are now keeping each other company.

Click here to see this week’s full AP men’s basketball top 25 poll

Wazzu (23-7) picked up one spot after wins at home last week over USC and UCLA, moving to No. 18. So who takes the Cougs’ old ranking at No. 19? The 24-6 Zags, of course.

Gonzaga, which returned to the poll last week after a six-week absence, rose four spots in the new poll thanks to a big week where it posted impressive road wins over the other teams that make up the top three of the West Coast Conference: San Francisco and Saint Mary’s.

The Gonzaga win over Saint Mary’s was especially important. The Gaels came into the game needing a win to finish a perfect run through conference play, but the Zags (14-2 in WCC play) played spoiler in emphatic fashion, leading essentially from start to finish for a 70-57 victory.

No. 23 Zags beat No. 17 Saint Mary’s 70-57 to bolster tourney hopes

Even though Saint Mary’s is the regular season WCC champion, the Zags easily leaped over the Gaels (24-7 overall, 15-1 WCC) in the new AP rankings, who fell six spots to No. 23. The two rivals could meet once more as they are each off until the WCC Tournament semifinals in Las Vegas next Monday, March 11. If both Gonzaga and Saint Mary’s win their semifinal matchups, they will face off in the conference title game at 6 p.m. on Tuesday, March 12. For full details on the WCC Tournament, click here.

As for WSU, the Cougs needed comebacks from double-digit deficits to beat both both USC on Thursday and UCLA on Saturday. The Saturday win gave the Cougars a 14-5 record in Pac-12 play, tying a program record for most conference wins in a season. Washington State can break that record when it hosts the UW Huskies at 6 p.m. Thursday in its final game of the regular season. The radio broadcast will air on Seattle Sports 710 AM and the Seattle Sports app beginning at 5:30 p.m. Thursday with the pregame show.

WSU enters the week just a half-game behind No. 5 Arizona (23-6 overall, 14-4 conference) for the Pac-12 lead. If Wazzu beats Washington and the Wildcats lose either of their games at UCLA (Thursday) or USC (Saturday), the Cougars will win the Pac-12 regular season championship due to having beaten Arizona in each of their two meetings this season.

In the women’s basketball top 25, Gonzaga (29-2) picked up a spot and is No. 15 in Monday’s rankings after dismantling Portland 90-40 last Thursday. Click here to see the full AP women’s basketball poll.

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