Gon­zaga No. 1 for sec­ond time

Pawtucket Times - - SPORTS - By JIM O'CON­NELL As­so­ci­ated Press

Be­ing the top-ranked team in the coun­try was new to Gon­zaga in 2013. The Zags were con­sid­ered one of the best teams in the West and had a long string of NCAA Tour­na­ment ap­pear­ances, but go­ing to No. 1 car­ried with it a new level of ex­pec­ta­tions. They know what to ex­pect this time. The lone re­main­ing un­beaten team in Di­vi­sion I, Gon­zaga moved to No. 1 in The As­so­ci­ated Press col­lege bas­ket­ball poll for the sec­ond time in school his­tory.

“We've done it be­fore,” Gon­zaga coach Mark Few said. “You have to un­der­stand the only poll we want to be No.1 at is the one at the end of the year. Th­ese things just kind of track who's win­ning and who's los­ing. I will say as we get deeper into the sea­son, the polls get more ac­cu­rate be­cause ev­ery­body be­gins to get a feel for ev­ery­one's sched­ule.”

The Zags (22-0) jumped up from third when Vil­lanova and Kansas both were beaten in a week when seven of the top 10 lost. Gon­zaga won both of its games last week, blow­ing out Port­land and Pep­per­dine.

Gon­zaga re­ceived 46 first-place votes from the 65-mem­ber na­tional me­dia panel Mon­day. The Zags were No. 1 for the last three weeks of the 2012-13 sea­son.

Gon­zaga is the fifth team to reach No. 1 this sea­son join­ing Duke, Ken­tucky, Vil­lanova and Bay­lor.

“We can con­trol our games. We can con­trol our ef­fort,” Gon­zaga cen­ter Przekek Karnowski said. “There are peo­ple to take care of the polls and the seed­ings. It's not our job to do that. We just have to come out ev­ery time we have a game ready to go. So far ev­ery ob­sta­cle we've had in our way this sea­son, we met it. Now we have to keep go­ing.”

Bay­lor (20-1), one of the three top 10 teams to not lose, jumped from fifth to sec­ond. The Bears had six first-place votes and were one point ahead of Kansas (19-2), which dropped one place af­ter los­ing at West Vir­ginia be­fore win­ning at Ken­tucky. The Jay­hawks had nine first-place votes.

Vil­lanova, which had been No. 1 for the last two weeks and six over­all, dropped to fourth af­ter los­ing at Mar­quette. The Wild­cats (20-2), who also had a last-sec­ond win over Vir­ginia, were No. 1 on four bal­lots.

North­west­ern (18-4) is the week's lone new­comer. The Wild­cats were last ranked for one week in 2009-10.

Ari­zona, the other top 10 team to get through the week with­out a loss, moved from sev­enth to fifth and was fol­lowed by Louisville, West Vir­ginia, Ken­tucky, Vir­ginia and Wis­con­sin.

UCLA was 11th and was fol­lowed by North Carolina, Ore­gon, Cincin­nati, Florida State, But­ler, Mary­land, Saint Mary's, South Carolina and Notre Dame.

The last five ranked teams were Duke, Creighton, Pur­due, Florida and North­west­ern.

Xavier (15-6), which has lost four of six with all the losses to ranked teams, dropped out from 24th. The Mus­ke­teers, who had been ranked for the last 29 polls, were sev­enth in the pre­sea­son vot­ing.

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