Gonzaga debuts at No. 1 in NET rankings

  • Tue Jan 5th, 2021 4:00pm
  • Sports

By Jim Meehan

The Spokesman-Review

Gonzaga added another No. 1 ranking to its resume Monday.

The Zags debuted in the top spot in the NCAA Evaluation Tool, better known as the NET rankings. Baylor is No. 2, mirroring the top of the latest AP Top 25 and USA Today’s poll.

The NCAA implemented NET rankings in 2018 to replace the antiquated Ratings Percentage Index (RPI). The selection committee uses the NET to sort, select and seed prospective NCAA tournament teams.

The Zags (10-0) have four Quad 1 wins (home vs. top 30 NET, neutral vs. top 50, away vs. top 75). GU handled No. 7 Iowa, No. 27 Kansas, No. 29 West Virginia and No. 45 Virginia. The Zags have a Quad 2 victory over No. 76 Auburn and four Quad 4 wins.

No. 8 Houston and No. 10 Missouri are the only other teams with four Quad 1 wins. Both have one Quad 1 loss.

Gonzaga continues to be entrenched at No. 1 with Baylor at No. 2 in the AP Top 25. The Zags made it seven weeks in a row at No. 1 by collecting 63 of 64 first-place votes and 1,599 points from the media panel. Baylor picked up the other first-place vote and has 1,537 points, comfortably ahead of No. 3 Villanova (1,453).

The AP top three is the same as it was in the preseason poll, when Gonzaga was No. 1 by one point over the Bears. Villanova announced Monday the program is pausing again after two players tested positive for COVID-19. The Wildcats had just returned to practice Sunday.

The initial NET rankings typically includes surprises and Monday’s release was no different.

Kansas (8-2), No. 6 in the AP poll with losses to Gonzaga and No. 4 Texas, is 27 in the NET. No. 21 Duke (3-2) is 115 in the NET, five spots below Eastern Washington (1-4), the highest rated Big Sky Conference squad. Seventh-ranked Creighton is 30th in the NET.

Boise State, led by former Gonzaga assistant coach Leon Rice, is No. 13 in the NET. The Broncos (8-1), who have a win over No. 52 BYU and a loss to Houston, received three points from AP voters. Colorado (7-3) is the highest rated Pac-12 team in the NET at 14.

Colgate (1-1) is No. 16 after splitting two games against Army.

BYU is followed by Saint Mary’s at 53 and San Francisco, which lost 85-62 to Gonzaga on Saturday, at 94.

The Zags are scheduled to entertain No. 124 Santa Clara on Thursday and visit No. 271 Portland on Saturday. NET ratings for other WCC teams: No. 126 Loyola Marymount, No. 159 Pacific, No. 215 Pepperdine and No. 288 San Diego.

Tennessee is No. 3 in the NET, followed by Illinois, Villanova, Michigan, Iowa, Houston, Texas and Missouri. Washington State is No. 101, fourth among Pac-12 schools.

The top 10 in the new AP poll: Gonzaga, Baylor, Villanova, Texas, Iowa, Kansas, Creighton, Wisconsin, Tennessee and Michigan. Houston, coached by former Washington State coach Kelvin Sampson, is No. 11. West Virginia is 14th and Virginia 22nd. BYU received 18 points, eighth among teams receiving votes.

Gonzaga, Baylor and Villanova held down the top three spots in the USA Today poll. For the second straight week, the Zags had 797 points and 29 of 32 first-place votes with Baylor at 771 points and three first-place votes.

Texas, Creighton, Kansas, Iowa, Tennessee, Michigan and Wisconsin rounded out the coaches’ top 10. Saint Mary’s had five points.