I've been pleasantly and unpleasantly surprised this season in regards to the AP and Coaches Poll. Some weeks I think we are far too high and some weeks I think we have been slighted a bit by some of the voters. Chalk this week up to being very pleasantly surprised by how the voters turned out. After losing to their second 200+ RPI team this season, Gonzaga remains well entrenched in this week's top 25 sitting at 18th in the AP and 15th in the Coaches.
Each poll saw Gonzaga take a significant slide as they dropped five spots in the AP and six spots in the Coaches but all in all, I'm very happy with this turnout. While Loyola Marymount is undoubtedly heading in the right direction as a program, Gonzaga's loss to them was a huge disappointment for a team with so much to play for. They looked uninspired throughout and shot the ball miserably. There are going to be plenty of teams behind the Zags this week that seriously question how they can possible behind this team. For instance, Pittsburgh being behind GU in the Coaches Poll seems to be insanity at this point after the Panthers win over Villanova.
This is not to say that Gonzaga doesn't have a very nice resume. Wins over Wisconsin and Illinois continue to look promising as does their dominance over top teams in the conference. Winning the Maui Invitational is also a huge resume booster and you have to think the committee will be impressed with how Gonzaga has played against quality teams this season (aside from Duke).
The non-BCS presence is strong in this week's polls and that is something we are always happy about. New Mexico, BYU, Butler, Gonzaga, Temple, Richmond, Northern Iowa, and UTEP are all represented in one or both polls. If you asked me (and since you read this site, you do) those first five teams are all capable of making a Sweet 16 run at least. I've yet to see Richmond play but Northern Iowa and UTEP are both very dangerous as well.
This Gonzaga team definitely has plenty of work to do if we are going to seriously consider a deep tournament run but these kind of rankings and what we are seeing from bracketologists is very positive. Playing in Spokane has been the goal since Maui and it is still very attainable.