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College Basketball Rankings: Saint Mary's Climbs To No. 17

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The latest USA Today/ESPN Coaches Poll was released Monday morning and the Saint Mary's Gaels continue their climb up the rankings. As expected, the Gaels climbed a few spots thanks to some critical losses ahead of them and their own huge road wins over BYU and Loyola Marymount this past weekend. Saint Mary's climbed from No. 20 to No. 17 in the poll. The Gaels used their 2-0 week to climb ahead of San Diego State, Mississippi State and Connecticut.

SMC has run off the best start in school history as they sit 21-2 and 10-0 in conference play. Their biggest remaining game is in two weeks when they travel to Spokane to face the Gonzaga Bulldogs. A win in Spokane would secure series sweeps of both BYU and Gonzaga and just about lock up the regular season conference title, as well as at least an at-large bid for the Gaels. SMC came up just short last season but is playing like a team possessed in 2011-12.

Here is the USA Today/ESPN coaches poll top 10:

1) Kentucky (31 first place votes)
2) Syracuse
3) Ohio State
4) Missouri
5) Duke
6t) Baylor
6t) North Carolina
8) Kansas
9) Murray State
10) Michigan State