The first in-season AP Top 25 Poll is out and two Northwest teams are in the top 20. The Gonzaga Bulldogs and Washington Huskies eased into the season, breezing to an undefeated weekend. Washington used a strong first half and cruised to a 118-64 win over McNeese State on Saturday. Gonzaga went 2-0 on the weekend, dropping Southern and IUPUI. For their efforts, Washington moved up one spot to No. 17 and Gonzaga stayed at No. 11 in the poll.
The Huskies take on Eastern Washington tomorrow in another early season tuneup before starting to get into the heavy part of the schedule. On Nov. 23, familiar foe Tony Bennett brings his Virginia Cavaliers to Hec Ed in what should be a great early season battle. Husky head coach Lorenzo Romar tangled with Bennett plenty of times while the Cavaliers coach was at Washington State. The tough, hard-nosed defense that's a trademark of Bennett coached teams should give the athletic Huskies a different kind of test and is a match-up to watch.
Gonzaga has the week off before hosting No. 25 San Diego State on Nov. 22. From there, the Bulldogs jump into the fire, taking on No. 3 Kansas State in an early road game that promises to be one of the best this month. Gonzaga also hosts No. 16 Illinois on Dec. 4 and travels to Pullman to take on the Washington State Cougars Dec. 8. In all the Bulldogs' non-conference schedule includes five teams ranked in the top 25 as it stands right now.
The pollsters still don't have a high opinion of the Pac-10 this year, only ranking the Huskies in the top 25. The UCLA Bruins landed in the "others receiving votes" category, picking up just four votes. Arizona joined them in the category, picking up six votes. Future Pac-12 member Colorado also received votes, but was outside the top 25. Though the Pac-10 should be improved this year, it looks like another rebuilding year is on the way.