Gonzaga (32-1) moved up two spots in the Associated Press college basketball rankings released Monday, from No. 4 to No. 2, in the final poll ahead of the NCAA Tournament. The Zags, winners of the West Coast Conference tournament, received six first-place votes and 1,520 points from a national media panel. Villanova (31-3) is No. 1 (59 first-place votes, 1,619 points) and Kansas (28-4) No. 3 (1,479).
The Pac-12 placed three schools in the top 10: Arizona (30-4) at No. 4, UCLA (29-4) at No. 8 and Oregon (29-5) at No. 9. The Wildcats jumped three spots from No. 7. UCLA fell five spots from No. 3 last week.
Gonzaga, the No. 1 seed in the West, opens NCAA play Thursday against South Dakota State (18-16) at 11 a.m. PT. The Bulldogs are making their 19th consecutive NCAA appearance and 20th overall. Gonzaga, a No. 1 seed for the second time in program history, has reached the Sweet Sixteen seven times and the Elite Eight twice.
Arizona, a No. 3 seed, plays North Dakota Thursday in Salt Lake City. UCLA plays Kent State Friday in Sacramento (7:10 p.m., PT), and Oregon plays No. 14 Iona in the first round Friday, also in Sacramento (2 p.m.)