Back in December this blog pointed out an amusing inconsistency in the college Coaches' Poll ranking of Gonzaga at number 21 in the country. At that point they'd lost only once--to then undefeated, and now #1 Illinois, and had beaten several other teams the coaches were ranking far ahead of them.
It was pointed out by someone--without the relevant first hand experience of having seen the Zags play--that it wasn't only the coaches who ranked them outside the top twenty. So did Jeff Sagarin's computer.
Now that the regular season has ended, and the conferences' tournaments are almost ended, we can have a better idea of just where Gonzaga deserved to be ranked. The Zags finished at 25-4, with wins over Sagarin's #5 Washington, and #9 Oklahoma State. They won both their conference regular season title, and its tournament.
More telling, Gonzaga played 5 teams that made it to their conference's tournament finals.
Illinois (to play Wisconsin, Sunday), Georgia Tech (up against Duke, tomorrow), Oklahoma St. ( to play Texas Tech tomorrow), St. Mary's (whom the Zags defeated for the WCC crown), and Washington (who less than an hour ago defeated Arizona to win the Pac-10 tournament, and secure its automatic NCAA berth).
Gonzaga defeated all of them, except 30-1 Illinois. Which brings us back to Jeff Sagarin's current ranking for Gonzaga (with cinch NBA Lottery pick, Ronny Turiaf): They've progressed to #20.