National media members are considering Gonzaga the best team in college basketball entering the 2021-22 season, recently voting the Bulldogs No. 1 in the AP Top 25 poll.
On Wednesday, the coaches came to a similar consensus.
For the first time in school history, Gonzaga checked in at No. 1 in the preseason USA Today men’s basketball coaches poll. The Bulldogs grabbed 29 of the 31 first-place votes, with UCLA picking up the other two top votes.
The news could be a good omen for Mark Few’s program. Last year’s national champion, Baylor, trumped Gonzaga for the No. 1 spot in USA Today’s preseason poll before beating the Bulldogs to win the national championship at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis.
Gonzaga will cross paths with four teams that cracked the preseason poll, including two of the top five. Just below Gonzaga is UCLA, which returns all five starters from the team that lost to the Bulldogs in the 2021 Final Four.
While the Bulldogs collected 771 total points, the Bruins received 709, followed by Kansas (705), Villanova (658) and Texas (634).
The second game of the regular season sees Gonzaga hosting Texas in what will be the first showdown between top-five teams in McCarthey Athletic Center history. The Bulldogs are scheduled to play UCLA in a Final Four rematch on Nov. 23 in Las Vegas.
Gonzaga also has a nonconference test against Alabama on Dec. 4 at Seattle’s Climate Pledge Arena. The Crimson Tide came in at No. 13 in the preseason poll.
Texas Tech, which travels to Phoenix on Dec. 18 for a neutral-site game against the Bulldogs, narrowly missed the Top 25 but was second among teams receiving votes.
Although Gonzaga failed to start the 2020-21 season at No. 1 in the USA Today poll, the Bulldogs climbed past Baylor when the second edition of the poll came out and held the top spot for 15 weeks until giving it back to the Bears after the national championship.
The full USA Today poll : No. 1 Gonzaga, No. 2 UCLA, No. 3 Kansas, No. 4 Villanova, No. 5 Texas, No. 6 Michigan, No. 7 Purdue, No. 8 Baylor, No. 9 Duke, No. 10 Illinois, No. 11 Kentucky, No. 12 Oregon, No. 13 Alabama, No. 14 Houston, No. 15 Arkansas, No. 16 Memphis, T-No. 17 Tennessee, T-No. 17 Ohio State, No. 19 Florida State, No. 20. North Carolina, No. 21 Maryland, No. 22 Auburn, No. 23 UConn, No. 24 St. Bonaventure, No. 25 Virginia.
Local journalism is essential.
Give directly to The Spokesman-Review's Northwest Passages community forums series -- which helps to offset the costs of several reporter and editor positions at the newspaper -- by using the easy options below. Gifts processed in this system are not tax deductible, but are predominately used to help meet the local financial requirements needed to receive national matching-grant funds.
Follow along with the Zags
Subscribe to our Gonzaga Basketball newsletter to stay up with the latest news.