The News Courier in Athens, Alabama

Sports

March 4, 2013

Gonzaga is No. 1 in AP Top 25 for 1st time

BIRMINGHAM — Gonzaga, the small Northwest school that consistently delivers big NCAA tournament wins, is on top of The Associated Press' Top 25 for the first time.

Riding the best record in Division I at 29-2, the Bulldogs took advantage of Indiana's loss to Minnesota last week and switched places with the Hoosiers, advancing from No. 2 and moving comfortably into the No. 1 spot Monday.

The Spokane, Wash., school best known for Bing Crosby's croons and John Stockton's passes received 51 first-place votes from the 65-member national media panel, 44 more than Indiana.

Gonzaga becomes the 57th school to be ranked No. 1 since the AP poll began in January 1949. The Bulldogs are the fifth school to hold the top slot this season.

Indiana was the preseason No. 1 and on top for nine other weeks. Duke, which was No. 1 for five weeks, and Louisville and Michigan, which were both on top for one week, were the other No. 1s this season.

Gonzaga reached No. 2 last week, at the time its highest ranking. After Indiana's defeat, the Bulldogs capped their West Coast Conference regular season with wins over BYU and Portland to pave the way to the one-spot leap. Their first game as a No. 1 team will be in the semifinals of the WCC tournament Saturday night.

Duke, which followed a loss to Virginia with a win over Miami, stayed third with five first-place votes. Kansas and Georgetown both jumped two spots to fourth and fifth. The Hoyas received the other two first-place votes.

Miami, Michigan, Louisville, Kansas State and Michigan State rounded out the top 10.

Virginia Commonwealth and UCLA, both ranked earlier in the season, returned to the poll at 21st and 23rd, respectively. They replaced Butler and Louisiana Tech. Butler fell out from 20th after a 32-point loss to VCU. Louisiana Tech dropped out after one week at No. 25 despite winning its two games last week by an average of 25 points.

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