Gonzaga Passes Kansas for No. 1 in AP Poll, Duke is No.3
Gonzaga pulled off what some considered impossible, stopping the Duke juggernaut in the Maui Invitational title game without one of its best players. Now the Zags are No. 1 again.
Third in last week's poll , Gonzaga leapfrogged No. 2 Kansas to the top spot in The Associated Press Top 25 released Monday. The Zags received 32 first-place votes from a 65-person media panel, edging the Jayhawks by one.
No. 3 Duke received one first-place vote despite losing to Gonzaga in Maui and No. 4 Virginia the other one after winning the Battle 4 Atlantis title.
No. 5 Nevada has its highest ranking ever after winning the Las Vegas Invitational, with Tennessee, Michigan, Auburn, Michigan State and Kentucky rounding out the top 10.
Gonzaga (6-0) is missing do-everything forward Killian Tillie for the first two months of the season because of an ankle injury and was a big underdog heading into the Maui title game last week.
Duke (5-1) and its cache of lottery-pick freshmen were an unstoppable force the first four weeks of the season, blowing past then-No. 2 Kentucky in the season opener and winning its first three games in lopsided fashion.
Duke came to Maui undefeated on the Valley Isle, winning five titles in five tries, and opened with two wins to reach the title game.
Gonzaga punched the Blue Devils in the gut early in the championship game and withstood a late charge, relying on its experience to hold off Duke 89-87 to win its second Maui title.
The Zags are No. 1 for the third time, following stints atop the poll in 2016-17, when they reached the national title game, and in 2012-13.
"They're good. I mean they have good basketball players," Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski said. "They're strong, they're old, they're unselfish and they play their butts off."
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