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Gonzaga ranked No. 13 in preseason coaches poll

Saint Mary’s comes in at No. 19, meaning there are more ranked WCC teams than SEC teams.

NCAA Basketball: NCAA Tournament-Second Round-Utah vs Gonzaga Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports

The Gonzaga Bulldogs opened the season ranked No. 13 in the first preseason USA Today Coaches Poll, released on Wednesday.

There are some familiar names in that as well, specifically, the Saint Mary’s Gaels, who are opening the season ranked No. 19. I’m not too sure about this, but my guess is his is the highest Saint Mary’s has ever opened a season in the modern era.

Duke is the No. 1 overall pick, receiving 27 first place votes. Kansas, Villanova, Kentucky, and Oregon each received a first place vote as well.

In a sign of changing times, there are twice as many WCC teams ranked (Gonzaga, Saint Mary’s), as there are SEC teams (Kentucky). Saint Mary’s is a stellar squad returning virtually (if not literally) everyone, so the big question right now is: could this be the year the Gaels finally land on the national radar for an extended period of time?