/College basketball rankings: No. 1 Gonzaga passes test vs. BYU and may have ‘needed a game like that’
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College basketball rankings: No. 1 Gonzaga passes test vs. BYU and may have ‘needed a game like that’

USATSI

Gonzaga was down by as many as 14 points late Tuesday, by definition on the ropes, their undefeated record at real risk for the first time this season, their chance at history slipping.

And yet it never felt like the Zags would lose.

Not from my seat, at least.

I forever figured they’d eventually start guarding well enough and shooting well enough to avoid the upset. Thanks largely to Corey Kispert and Jalen Suggs, they did. So now Gonzaga will officially be just the 20th team, and just the 16th school, to enter the NCAA Tournament with a zero in the loss column.

“We needed a game like that,” Gonzaga coach Mark Few said following the 88-78 victory over BYU in the title game of the West Coast Conference Tournament. “We had some adversity and got punched in the face. We got together at halftime, and the guys just stuck with the plan.”

Indeed, they did.

Gonzaga outscored BYU 47-25 in the second half — mostly because of Suggs, the five-star freshman who made three 3-pointers in the final eight minutes to help the Zags pull away. The 6-foot-4 point guard finished with a game-high 23 points, five assists and five rebounds in 33 minutes while reminding the country that though he has deferred to his older teammates in parts of this season, the same way Derrick Rose did at Memphis in 2008, he has the ability to take over games when the spotlight is bright, the same way Derrick Rose did at Memphis in 2008.

“I’ve been dreaming of playing college basketball all my life,” Suggs said. “I was practicing on my Little Tikes hoop for these exact moments, and for it to play out like this is crazy.”

Gonzaga — which remains No. 1 in Wednesday morning’s updated CBS Sports Top 25 And 1 daily college basketball rankings — is now guaranteed to be the No. 1 overall seed in the NCAA Tournament, if only because there’s no sensible argument for anybody else. No mystery there. The only question now is whether the Zags can win six more games and become the first undefeated national champions since Indiana finished 32-0 in 1976.

We’ll get the answer in the coming weeks.

Wednesday’s Top 25 And 1 rankings

Biggest Movers

Rk

Teams

 

Chg

Rcrd


1


Gonzaga

Gonzaga’s perfect record includes double-digit victories over Iowa, Kansas, Virginia and BYU. The Zags are just the 20th team in history to enter the NCAA Tournament undefeated.

26-0

2


Baylor

Baylor is 11-1 in the first two quadrants with wins over Illinois, West Virginia, Kansas and Oklahoma State. The Bears are conference champions for the first time since 1950.

21-1

3


Illinois

Illinois is 14-6 in the first two quadrants with wins over Michigan, Iowa, Ohio State and Purdue. Five of the Illini’s six losses are Quadrant 1 defeats. 20-6

4


Michigan

Michigan dropped to 13-3 in the first two quadrants after Sunday’s loss at Michigan State. The Wolverines are 1-2 in their past three games.

19-3

5


Alabama

Alabama is 15-5 in the first two quadrants with one additional loss falling in Quadrant 3. The Crimson Tide are SEC champions for the first time since 2002.

21-6

6


Iowa

Iowa is 12-7 in the first two quadrants with wins over Ohio State and Purdue. The Hawkeyes are 7-1 in their past eight games with the lone loss in that stretch coming at Michigan.

20-7

7


Arkansas

Arkansas is 11-5 in the first two quadrants with wins over Alabama and Missouri. The Razorbacks are 11-1 in their past 12 games and the No. 2 seed in the SEC Tournament. 21-5

8


Ohio St.

Ohio State dropped to 12-8 in the first two quadrants after Saturday’s loss to Illinois. The Buckeyes will take a four-game losing streak into the Big Ten Tournament. 18-8

9


Houston

Houston is 7-2 in the first two quadrants with one additional loss falling in Quadrant 3. The Cougars are 6-1 in their past seven games with the lone loss in that stretch coming at Wichita State.

21-3

10


Oklahoma St.

Oklahoma State is 10-6 in the first two quadrants with one additional loss falling in Quadrant 3. The Cowboys are 6-1 in their past seven games with the lone loss in that stretch coming at Baylor. 18-7

11


W. Virginia

West Virginia dropped to 11-8 in the first two quadrants after Saturday’s loss to Oklahoma State. The Mountaineers are 4-3 in their past seven games with two of the losses coming in overtime. 18-8

12


Kansas

Kansas is 9-8 in the first two quadrants with zero losses outside of Quadrant 1. The Jayhawks are the only team that has beaten Baylor. 19-8

13


Florida St.

Florida State dropped to 9-4 in the first two quadrants after Saturday’s loss at Notre Dame. The Seminoles’ resume also includes a Quadrant 3 loss to UCF. 15-5

14


Villanova

Villanova dropped to 8-5 in the first two quadrants after Saturday’s loss at Providence. The Wildcats are 0-1 since losing Collin Gillespie to a knee injury. 16-5

15


Texas

Texas is 9-7 in the first two quadrants with wins over West Virginia, Kansas and Oklahoma State. Six of the Longhorns’ seven losses are Quadrant 1 defeats.

17-7

16


Loyola Chi.

Loyola Chicago is 6-4 in the first two quadrants with wins over Drake and North Texas. The Ramblers are 16-1 in their past 17 games and MVC champions for the third time in the past four seasons.

24-4

17


Virginia

Virginia is 8-5 in the first two quadrants with one additional loss falling in Quadrant 3. The Cavaliers will take a two-game winning streak into the ACC Tournament. 17-6

18


USC

USC is 9-6 in the first two quadrants with wins over BYU, Oregon and UCLA. The Trojans recorded a league-best 15 Pac-12 victories. 21-6

19


Purdue

Purdue is 13-7 in the first two quadrants with one additional loss falling in Quadrant 3. The Boilermakers will take a five-game winning streak into the Big Ten Tournament. 18-8

20


Creighton

Creighton is 11-4 in the first two quadrants with three additional losses falling in Quadrant 3. The Bluejays are 1-0 since coach Greg McDermott was indefinitely suspended. 18-7

21


Va. Tech

Virginia Tech is 5-5 in the first two quadrants with wins over Villanova, Virginia and Clemson. The Hokies finished tied for first in the loss column of the ACC standings.

15-5

22


BYU

BYU is 7-5 in the first two quadrants with wins over San Diego State and Utah State. The Cougars will take a five-game winning streak into the championship game of the West Coast Conference Tournament.

20-6

23


Clemson

Clemson is 10-6 in the first two quadrants with wins over Alabama, Florida State and Purdue. The Tigers are 6-1 in their past seven games. 16-6

24


Connecticut

UConn is 6-6 in the first two quadrants with wins over USC and Seton Hall. The Huskies are 10-2 with James Bouknight in the lineup. 14-6

25


Oregon

Oregon is 10-3 in the first two quadrants with two additional losses falling in Quadrant 3. The Ducks’ top five scorers combined to miss 20 games earlier in the season.

19-5

26


St. Bona.

St. Bonaventure is 5-3 in the first two quadrants with one additional loss falling in Quadrant 3. The Bonnies are outright Atlantic 10 champions for the first time in school history.

15-4