Gonzaga will start the year as the No. 1 team in the country, according to the preseason AP Poll, released Monday afternoon.
The Bulldogs received more No. 1 votes than any other team, with 28, just ahead of Baylor (24), with Villanova (11) and Virginia (1) behind them. Those were also the top four teams, in order, as Luka Garza and the Iowa Hawkeyes rounded out the top five.
Gonzaga is the only team from a mid-major conference to make the Preseason Top 25, though several received votes. Richmond, Saint Louis, San Diego State, BYU, Loyola University Chicago, UNC Greensboro, and Northern Iowa all appeared on at least one ballot.
With the season allegedly less than three weeks away, Gonzaga is now preparing to start the year not only with a huge target on its back but against some elite competition. The Bulldogs will face No. 6 Kansas in their season opener on Nov. 25, then Auburn (receiving votes) a day later. Baylor and Iowa complete Gonzaga’s brutal non-conference slate, unless the school adds any more potential punishment in the coming days.
The trolls will say what they want on Twitter, but Gonzaga’s ranking is deserved. Though Killian Tillie, Filip Petrusev, and Ryan Woolridge have departed, Mark Few has kept his program positively loaded. Joel Ayayi had a breakout season last year and will join Corey Kispert and Drew Timme as the experienced returning core. Jalen Suggs, Gonzaga’s highest-rated recruit ever, will run the point after compiling nearly 3,000 career points in high school. We’ll have more on Gonzaga when our rollout of The Other Top 25 hits its conclusion (imagine if we didn’t have the Bulldogs ranked No. 1 as well???).
For now, here’s the complete AP Poll:
1. Gonzaga (28)
2. Baylor (24)
3. Villanova (11)
4. Virginia (1)
13. Michigan State
14. Texas Tech
15. West Virginia
16. North Carolina
18. Arizona State
21. Florida State
23. Ohio State
Others receiving votes: LSU 146, Memphis 69, Florida 69, Alabama 50, Indiana 48, Louisville 41, Richmond 40, Stanford 14, Providence 9, Saint Louis 8, Auburn 8, San Diego State 6, Connecticut 6, BYU 4, Loyola Chicago 3, Seton Hall 2, UNC Greensboro 1, Northern Iowa 1.