Gonzaga Bulldogs preseason: Zags start out ranked 22nd in ESPN/USA Today poll

James Snook-US PRESSWIRE - Presswire

The 2012-2013 Gonzaga Bulldog's basketball season is less than a month away, and the Zags are starting out the season on good note with a top 25 ranking.

The Gonzaga Bulldogs men's basketball team will start out the season ranked 22nd in the ESPN/USA Today coaches poll released on Tuesday.

The Zags received 166 votes and are the only West Coast Conference team in the top 25. The Saint Mary's Gaels received 11 votes however.

Gonzaga is coming in with a lot of expectations riding on a team that is returning three of five to the starting lineup. The Bulldogs lost senior center Robert Sacre to graduation and the NBA draft. Sacre's starting role is expected to be filled by junior Sam Dower and incoming Polish freshmen Przemek Karnowski.

The coaches poll isn't the only one showing the Gonzaga Bulldogs love. CBS Sports ranked Gonzaga at No. 19 in their preseason polls, citing balance in the team as a possibility for a deep NCAA run. Two of the five sports writers at CBS Sports also pegged the Bulldogs for a Final Four finish, which would be the first in the team's history.

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