Bulldogs Seventh In USA Today/ESPN Poll

Highest pre-season ranking ever for Gonzaga

Mark Few and the Bulldogs are ranked seventh in the USA Today/ESPN preseason poll.

Mark Few and the Bulldogs are ranked seventh in the USA Today/ESPN preseason poll.

Oct. 28, 2005

BRISTOL, Connecticut (Ticker) - Coach Mike Krzyzewski's week got even better on Friday.

Two days after Krzyzewski was named coach of the men's teams for USA Basketball from 2006-08, his Duke Blue Devils on Friday topped the preseason USA Today/ESPN coaches' poll.

Gonzaga received its highest preseason ranking ever, checking in at No. 7. The Bulldogs were ranked 12th in USA Today/ESPN preseason poll in November of 2003.

Gonzaga opens the regular season at home Nov. 18 against the University of Idaho, then will play in the EA Sports Maui Invitational Nov. 21-23. Gonzaga opens against 21st-ranked University of Maryland

Other ranked teams on the Bulldog schedule are No. 12 University of Memphis and No. 13 Stanford University. Gonzaga could also face No. 2 University of Connecticut, No. 5 Michigan State University or the University of Kansas which also received votes in the Maui Invitational. The Bulldogs and MSU are in the same bracket.

Krzyzewski, who guided Duke to three national championships and to a 27-6 record last season, is entering his 26th season as the school's coach. A Hall of Famer, Krzyzewski will have four starters returning to a team that concluded last season seventh in the rankings but lost in the regional semifinals of the NCAA Tournament.

The Blue Devils received 28 first-place votes and 767 points.

They are followed by Connecticut, which notched 692 points despite the lack of a first-place vote. Josh Boone, Rudy Gay and Rashad Anderson are among the returnees to a Huskies team that was 17th in last season's final rankings.

Previously unranked Texas is third, claiming two first-place votes and 683 points. No. 4 Villanova, which has 644 points, notched the final first-place vote.

Michigan State, which reached the Final Four to close last season ranked fourth, rounds out the top five as the top team from the Big Ten Conference.

Oklahoma, Gonzaga, Louisville, Arizona and Kentucky claimed the next five spots and Boston College, which opened the 2004-05 campaign with 20 consecutive victories, is at No. 11.

Memphis is at No. 12, followed by Stanford, Alabama, West Virginia and 2003 national champion Syracuse.

Illinois, which went 37-2 last season and lost to North Carolina in the championship game nearly seven months ago, opens the 2005-06 campaign at No. 17.

The Tar Heels, who lost Sean May, Rashad McCants, Raymond Felton and Marvin Williams among their top seven scorers, became the first defending national champion to be unranked in the preseason poll since Kansas in 1988.

UCLA and Wake Forest are tied for 18th, followed by Iowa, Maryland, Indiana, Iowa State, George Washington and Nevada to complete the poll. None of the final six ranked teams were included in the 2004-05 season-ending poll.

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