After an unexpected loss at San Francisco, it became clear that Gonzaga needed to get back to basics. Part of that process was the fact that they needed to get two of their starters, Demetri Goodson and Robert Sacre, back on track and putting forth a more complete effort. The loss to the Dons was a classic trap scenario and after this past week's work by the Zags, you could argue that it was the best thing to happen to this team. The Bulldogs throttled Portland at home on Thursday and then made the long trip to Memphis and were able to outlast the Tigers for a big late season nonconference win against a desperate team.
For their efforts, Gonzaga received some forward motion from the pollsters earlier today moving up in both the Associated Press and Coaches Poll. First off, because it sounds better, Gonzaga is now ranked 11th by the Coaches Poll. Then you have the Associated Press poll which is still trying to regain their faith in the Bulldogs which has this team ranked #16 in the nation.
There actually wasn't a whole lot of movement in this week's poll which is pretty normal for this time in the season. We've gotten over the early-to-mid season conference hump and teams are starting to really solidify themselves on the national landscape. The Zags did benefit from Brigham Young getting beat down by UNLV on the road and also gained a spot over Texas in the Coaches Poll.
Thursday's game against Saint Mary's is really Gonzaga's last big time regular season match up but the good news is that some of the Zags' nonconference wins are starting to look better and better. This past week has seen Wisconsin sweep the Michigan schools, Illinois take down Michigan State, and Oklahoma knock off Texas. If these teams can continue to play good basketball, Gonzaga's resume will just keep getting better and better.
There is no doubt that Gonzaga and the Mountain West Conference continue to represent the best in the West this year. The Pac-10 still doesn't have a team remotely in the conversation yet and it's not because they are all beating each other up. BYU, New Mexico, and UNLV join Gonzaga in the polls and don't sleep on the Gaels. They are receiving a good amount of votes in both polls but I feel like they need to beat Gonzaga at some point this season, whether it be Thursday or in the conference tournament, to get a bid in the big dance.