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Gonzaga men open season atop AP poll

| November 10, 2020 1:00 AM

SPOKANE, Wash. – For the first time in program history, Gonzaga men’s basketball was ranked No. 1 in the preseason Associated Press poll, which was released Monday.

“It’s a great honor to be selected No. 1,” Gonzaga Head Coach Mark Few said. “We understand that it is more a reflection of what our program has accomplished over the years and hope to play up to that standard as we start our season.”

It's the sixth time in program history that Gonzaga receives the No. 1 ranking in the AP poll. Last season, Gonzaga spent four consecutive weeks at No. 1 in the AP poll, before finishing No. 2 with one first-place vote. The Bulldogs opened the season at No. 8 in the preseason AP poll. In 2018-19, GU was the top-ranked AP team for five weeks, after winning the Maui Invitational for two weeks and three straight weeks late in the regular season. The Zags have now been ranked No. 1 in five of the last nine seasons.

The Bulldogs were No. 1 in in the last three rankings of the 2012-13 season, prior to the NCAA Tournament. GU climbed to No. 1 after a 22-0 start to the 2016-17 season. The Zags were No. 1 for four straight weeks, before finishing the regular season 29-1, and advancing to the national championship game.

This marks the 20th straight season Gonzaga has been ranked in the AP poll. It's the 11th consecutive year the Zags have appeared in the preseason poll, starting in the top-20 for the eighth straight season. It's the seventh time GU has been ranked in the Top-10 in the preseason AP ranking. The Zags earned their previous highest-ever preseason ranking in the 2018 AP Top 25 poll at No. 3 with one first-place vote, before ending the season at No. 4.

Gonzaga had 1,541 points in this year's preseason poll, with 28 first-place votes. Baylor followed at No. 2 with 1,540 points and 24 first-place votes. The Bulldogs and Baylor square off in Indianapolis on Dec. 5. Villanova received 11 first-place votes at No. 3. Virginia and Iowa rounded out the top-five. GU faces Iowa in Sioux Falls, S.D., on Dec. 19.

The Zags open the season with Kansas in Florida on Nov. 26. The Jayhawks begin the season at No. 6. GU then plays Auburn in Florida on Nov. 27. The Tigers start the year receiving eight votes. West Coast Conference foe BYU received four votes in the poll.

The Bulldogs will entertain fans at the Numerica Kraziness in the Kennel Thursday. The annual event will be closed to fans, but will be televised on KHQ and ROOT Sports Northwest at 8 p.m.