The Gonzaga men's basketball has claimed the No. 1 ranking in college basketball on Monday for the first time this season.

After handling the North Carolina Tar Heels Wednesday night in the biggest game in The Kennel’s history and beating Eastern Washington Saturday night, the Zags moved up one spot from their previous No. 2 ranking. Along with these wins, the Bulldogs received some help out East, as the No. 18 Villanova Wildcats defeated the then-No. 1 Kansas Jayhawks 56-55 Saturday night.

This is not unfamiliar territory for the Bulldogs, as they claimed the No. 1 spot at a similar point last year. After starting out with the No. 8 ranking in the preseason, this is the fourth time in the last eight seasons that GU has reached the top.

The Bulldogs are riding on a five-game win streak after losing to the no.11 seed Michigan Wolverines in the championship game of the Battle 4 Atlantis tournament. Two of those wins include road games against the No. 22 Washington Huskies and No. 24 Arizona Wildcats.

During this stretch of wins, the Bulldogs now own the longest active winning streak at home (30) and on the road (11). In those wins, the Bulldogs have won by an average of 19.6 points, with their biggest margin coming against Texas Southern by a score of 101-62.

The Zags received 54 out of 64 first place votes, followed by Ohio State with 9 first place votes. Louisville, Duke and Kansas filled out the top 5.

The Gonzaga women’s basketball team also continued its stint in the Top 25 — they are ranked No. 17 and defeated No. 20 Missouri State 64-52 Friday night at home.

The women’s team will start West Coast Conference play on Sunday in the Kennel against the University of Portland. The men’s team will have a break before it faces Detroit Mercy on Dec. 30.

 

Vinny Saglimbeni is a sports editor.

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