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UNR at No. 14 in final AP Poll; Gonzaga, Virginia lead way

UNR has moved up three spots to No. 14 in the final regular season men’s college basketball poll released by The Associated Press.

The Wolf Pack were ranked 17th last week after being ranked as high as No. 5 earlier in the season — the highest ranking in school history.

They closed the regular season with a 28-3 record after beating San Diego State 81-53 Saturday night in Reno to claim a share of the Mountain West Conference title for the third year in a row.

UNR opens play in the league tournament at noon Thursday at the Thomas & Mack Center against the winner of the opening round contest between Boise State and Colorado State.

Gonzaga and Virginia have become the clear choices for AP Top 25 voters.

The Zags and Cavaliers were ranked 1-2 atop Monday’s latest poll, marking their third straight week in those spots. But it was the first time in those weeks that the two teams claimed all the first-place votes.

The Zags (29-2) earned 41 of the 64 first-place votes while the Cavaliers (28-2) earned the remaining 23. They had all but five of those first-place votes when they first rose to their current perches two weeks ago, then all but one in last week’s poll.

For Monday’s poll, voter Graham Couch of the Lansing State Journal moved his vote from Duke to Gonzaga after the Blue Devils’ second loss to third-ranked rival North Carolina. Two other voters — Donna Ditota of the Syracuse Post-Standard and Zach Osterman of The Indianapolis Star — switched from Gonzaga to Virginia.

Both teams look like favorites for No. 1 seeds for the NCAA Tournament as they enter their league tournaments. Gonzaga’s only losses have come to UNC and No. 8 Tennessee , while Virginia’s two losses came against Duke — which had freshman star Zion Williamson healthy both times.

Gonzaga didn’t play last week after wrapping up its regular-season schedule on March 2. The Zags return to the court against Pepperdine on Monday night at the Orleans Arena to start play in the West Coast Conference Tournament.

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