Gonzaga will open the college basketball season precisely where it wants to end the season in April.
The Zags were voted No. 1 in the preseason Associated Press poll released Monday. The Gonzaga men received 55 of 63 first-place votes from the media panel. No. 2 UCLA, which faces Gonzaga on Nov. 23 in Las Vegas, picked up the other eight votes.
It marks the first time two teams from the West have been 1-2 in the preseason AP rankings since UNLV and Arizona in 1990.
Gonzaga was No. 1 in the preseason poll last season for the first time in school history. The Zags had 28 first-place votes with Baylor right behind at 24. Gonzaga won 31 straight games but came up short of its first national championship after falling to the Bears 86-70 in the title game.
“It is quite an honor to be selected preseason No. 1 for the second consecutive year,” Gonzaga head coach Mark Few said in a school release. “Our returning players realize the challenge of playing up to that level all year and look forward to it.”
The Zags will face No. 5 Texas on Nov. 13 at the McCarthey Athletic Center in Few’s first game back from suspension after being cited for DUI on Sept. 6. Gonzaga also faces No. 9 Duke (Nov. 26 in Las Vegas) and No. 14 Alabama (Dec. 4 in Seattle).
Texas Tech, which faces GU on Dec. 18 in Phoenix, had 17 points, eighth among teams receiving votes. BYU, picked second behind Gonzaga in the WCC preseason coaches poll, had three points.
The No. 1 ranking adds to several Gonzaga AP poll streaks:
• The Zags have been No. 1 in 18 straight polls, matching Duke in 1992 for sixth longest in history. (AP doesn’t conduct a poll following the NCAA Tournament).
• Gonzaga has been No. 1 in 34 polls, 10th all time. GU has been in the top three in 32 straight polls since the 2019-20 season, 22 of those at No. 1.
• The Zags have been ranked No. 1 in six of the last 10 seasons. They have a 55-6 record as the top-ranked team.
• Gonzaga has been ranked in the poll for 21 straight years. This is GU’s 12 consecutive appearance in the preseason poll, nine of those in the top 20. It’s the eighth top-10 rating in program history.
• Gonzaga’s 96 straight poll appearances are the nation’s longest active streak. Villanova is next at 41.
Gonzaga and UCLA are followed in the top 10 by Kansas, Villanova, Texas, Michigan, Purdue, Baylor, Duke and Kentucky.
The SEC and Big Ten each have five teams in the top 25. The ACC is next with four.
UCLA is ranked in the preseason top 10 for the first time since 2009. No. 13 Oregon is the only other Pac-12 team in the top 25. Arizona, under the direction of former Gonzaga assistant coach Tommy Lloyd, had 26 points, fourth in the receiving votes category.
Gonzaga is No. 1 in KenPom’s initial ratings and ESPN.com’s and CBSsports.com’s Top 25 and 1 preseason polls. Michigan, Kansas, Baylor and Illinois follow GU in KenPom’s top five.
The WCC is No. 7 in KenPom’s conference ratings – just behind the Power 6 – with San Francisco at 34, BYU at 38, Saint Mary’s at 42 and Loyola Marymount 69.