The Gonzaga bench reacts after the Bulldogs' win over Portland. (Jed Conklin / Associated…)
Gonzaga, the small Northwest school known for big NCAA tournament wins, is No. 1 in the Associated Press men's basketball top 25 poll for the first time.
With the best record in Division I at 29-2, the Bulldogs took advantage of Indiana's loss to Minnesota last week. The Bulldogs switched places with the Hoosiers, advancing from No. 2 to move comfortably into the No. 1 spot Monday.
Gonzaga received 51 first-place votes from the 65-member national media panel, 44 more than Indiana. The Bulldogs are the fifth school to hold the No. 1 slot this season.
Gonzaga also topped the weekly USA Today coaches' poll, earning 29 first-place votes. Indiana is second in the coaches' poll, followed by Kansas, Duke and Georgetown.
UCLA, after defeating Arizona for a second time, was 23rd in the AP poll but still couldn't crack the coaches' top 25. The Bruins rank second this week among "others receiving votes," right behind Middle Tennessee.
Gonzaga just completed a 16-0 regular season in the West Coast Conference. The Zags' two defeats were quality losses to Butler and Illinois, yet the WCC is ranked only No. 10 among college basketball leagues.