I remember reading last week in ESPN's chat between Eammon Brennan and Myron Medcalf that they both agreed that Gonzaga had pretty much reached its ceiling at number 6 in the nation, and that the only conceivable way for them to rise was significant movement at the top.
Well, I think the movement this week was pretty significant.
#2 ranked Florida lost to Arkansas away. Florida is in a similar situation as we are (very weak conference) but typically crushing each of those in-conference opponents. Well, they picked up a pretty bad loss to an unranked Razorback team. Not sure how far they'll drop but it won't be fun for them on Monday.
And then there are the #5 Jayhawks. Wow. What a week it's been for that team and Bill Self. The loss last night to unranked TCU was pretty much inexcusable. Kansas failed to score in the first seven minutes of the game, and TCU is one of the most awful teams in the nation. And then there is the loss to Oklahoma State. While they won't be looked upon as bad as losing TCU for there loss to the Cowboys, our victory against them just keeps looking better and better. OK St. are one of the few teams we've played and beaten that have still been playing consistently well and winning games.
With these three losses, there is no doubt in my mind we'll be the fifth best team in the nation come Monday barring an epic choke by the Zags this week, which I certainly don't see happening against Pepperdine and LMU at home.
But is there enough movement for us to move up to 4 and tie our highest ever ranking in the polls prior to March(I'm pretty sure that's the highest)? It's a tough one to call. If the Zags win out this weekend and there aren't any more top 5 losses, I could see the poll looking like this on Monday.
However, there are some interesting games to take note of that could cause even more movement. Indiana plays Illinois at Champaign tonight. I think we all know Illinois is no where near as good as they were when they beat us, but let's hope Brandon Paul can catch lightning in a bottle again and the Illini remember how to shoot the 3. Wishful thinking, but I know they have it in them.
NC State play Duke tonight as well at Cameron Indoor Stadium. If you'll remember, NC State was the team to knock off Duke from their #1 perch not too long ago. They've beaten them before, and I think they can do it again. Duke is still missing Ryan Kelly, and that is never a good thing. I think if Indiana loses and Duke wins, we'll probably only rise to a 5 seed. Our chance at reaching a 4 is much more likely if Duke loses. If that happens, Monday could possibly look like this.
And if the unthinkable happens? If both teams lose? Wow. Now that I've gotten to this point I really have no idea. The Zags ranked at #3 I think is REALLY pushing it. But both Illinois and NC State are unranked teams as well, so that will definitely hurt Indiana and Duke significantly. I just don't know how that would play out, but obviously, that is the preferable outcome.
The bottom line is there needed to be significant movement in the top 5 for the Zag's ceiling to rise. There has been significant movement this week, and there is plenty room for more tonight.
It is a great time to be Zag!
Sound off in the comments in the below and let me know what you're all thinking, and don't forget to vote in the poll too!