Gonzaga reclaims no.1 position

Gonzaga keeps finding its way back to the top of The Associated Press men’s college basketball poll.

The Zags reclaimed the No. 1 ranking for a third stint this season, while Providence climbed into the top 10, and Wyoming earned its first ranking in more than seven years.

Mark Few’s Bulldogs earned 56 of 60 first-place votes in Monday’s poll to swap positions with Auburn, which had spent the past three weeks at No. 1 but fell from the top spot after suffering its first loss since November.

Gonzaga tops the NCAA 1 rankings

Gonzaga (21-2) was the preseason No. 1 after last year’s run to the NCAA championship game, which became the team’s only loss. The Zags spent three weeks at the top before falling out after a loss to Duke and also spent a week at No. 1 in mid-January before being supplanted by Auburn.

It’s become a regular position for Gonzaga over the past four seasons, one no other team in the country can match.

Going back to 2018-19, Gonzaga has spent at least four weeks at No. 1 each season, including last year’s wire-to-wire hold on the top spot. The Zags have now spent 31 of 72 weeks at No. 1 in the poll over the past four seasons, with Duke (11) and Baylor (10) the closest competitors.

This year’s Zags are doing it again with a high-powered offense that leads the country in scoring (90.0 PPG) for the fourth straight season. Gonzaga has four players averaging in double figures and three others averaging at least 7.4 points.

“That’s kind of how we play,” leading scorer Drew Timme said after Saturday’s win over Saint Mary’s. “You look at the scoreboard, and it’s, ‘Oh, he had 20, he had 20.’ It’s just how we play the game. I think that’s the beauty of this program and what [Few] has built here.”

Bruce Pearl’s Tigers earned the other four first-place votes despite losing in overtime at Arkansas last week to snap a 19-game winning streak.

Arizona climbed one spot to No. 3 and is followed by Kentucky — which has its highest ranking since spending a week at No. 1 in November 2019 — and Purdue.

Duke and Villanova rounded out the top 10, with the Wildcats making the week’s biggest jump by climbing five spots after wins over St. John’s and Seton Hall.

Houston had the week’s biggest slide, falling eight spots to No. 14 after losses to SMU and Memphis last week.

No. 22 Wyoming, No. 23 Arkansas, and No. 25 Alabama were the week’s new additions, with the Cowboys from the Mountain West Conference earning their first ranking since spending a week in the 2015 poll. Wyoming is making only its second appearance since the 1987-88 season.

With the Razorbacks and Crimson Tide returning to the poll, the SEC tied the Big Ten for the national lead with five AP Top 25 teams. The Big 12 had four, followed by the Pac-12 and Big East, each having three. The ACC, West Coast, American, Ohio Valley, and Mountain West conferences each had one ranked team.

Marquette, Saint Mary’s, and Xavier fell out from last week’s rankings.

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