Tuesday, December 4, 2012
Gonzaga, unbeaten in eight games this season, jumped two spots to No. 10 in The Associated Press media and USA Today/ESPN coaches polls Monday.
The Zags haven’t been ranked higher since the 2008-09 season.
On Dec. 22, 2008, they were seventh in both polls with an 8-2 record. Two weeks earlier that season, the Zags were ranked fourth in both polls.
Meanwhile, defending champion Kentucky has tumbled out of the AP poll.
Coach John Calipari’s latest group of talented freshmen opened the season ranked No. 3, dropped to No. 8 and, after back-to-back losses to unranked Notre Dame and Baylor, their run of being in consecutive polls ended at 61. The stretch included 11 weeks at No. 1 under Calipari.
The coach hasn’t seen the kind of commitment needed to get better but says there is nothing wrong that more gym time can’t correct. Calipari has often said this freshmen class needs more time to develop than its predecessors.
Kentucky is 4-3 and Calipari wants his team to put in the work to improve. But he says he is not seeing many gym rats on his roster.
“I keep telling you, we have a long way to go,” Calipari said.
“Individual players have to fall in love with that gym. They haven’t yet.”
Calipari said last season’s title squad was frequently in the gym, and not just when it was time for practice. He is waiting for that same enthusiasm from the Wildcats’ current roster that he said hasn’t spent “one day” in there on its own.
The coach said the failure to put in extra effort has shown up in recent games. The Wildcats haven’t been able to impose their defensive will on opponents.
According to STATS LLC, they are the highest-ranked team to fall out of the poll in one week since it expanded to 25 in 1989-90 season.