Published March 04, 2013
| Sports Network
New York, NY – Gonzaga has become the newly anointed No. 1 team in men's college basketball.
The West Coast Conference regular season champions received 51 first-place votes and a total of 1,607 points from a nationwide media panel to ascend to the top spot in the Associated Press poll for the first time in school history.
Gonzaga is 29-2 and has won 12 straight games since a 64-63, last-second loss at Butler in January, finishing conference play with an unblemished record. The Bulldogs, the fifth different school to hold the top ranking this season, will next play Saturday in the semifinals of the West Coast Conference Tournament. Two more wins will likely earn the Spokane school a No. 1 seed in the NCAA Tournament.
Indiana was one of four top-five teams to lose last week. The Hoosiers, who fell at Minnesota last Tuesday, dipped one place to second after earning seven first-place votes. Duke, which bounced back from a loss at Virginia on Thursday to beat Miami-Florida on Saturday, remained third with five No. 1 votes.
Kansas and Georgetown complete this week's top five, both moving up two spots. The Hoyas, riding an 11-game winning streak, picked up a pair of first-place votes.
Miami, Michigan, Louisville, Kansas State and Michigan State round out the top 10. Miami slipped just one spot following Saturday's 79-76 setback at Duke, while Michigan tumbled three places from fourth. The Wolverines were stunned at Penn State last Wednesday before squeezing out a 58-57 win over Michigan State on Sunday. The Spartans, despite a three-game losing streak -- all against ranked competition, dropped only spot from ninth.
The second 10 consists of Florida, New Mexico, Oklahoma State, Ohio State, Marquette, Saint Louis, Syracuse, Arizona, Oregon and Pittsburgh. Marquette moved up seven places from 22nd after wins over Syracuse and Notre Dame, while Syracuse dropped five spots from 12th thanks to a three-game skid -- all against ranked foes. Arizona, meanwhile, had the biggest fall within the poll, sliding seven places from 11th after losses to Southern California and UCLA last week.
VCU, Wisconsin, UCLA, Notre Dame and Memphis are the last five teams ranked. VCU, after an 84-52 rout of Butler on Saturday, is back in the poll for a third time this season. UCLA is also in the poll for a third time. The Bruins were preseason No. 13 and fell out for the first time in mid-November before a one-week return in January.
Butler, which had been ranked since a mid-December upset of then-No. 1 Indiana, and Louisiana Tech each dropped out. Louisiana Tech entered the poll at No. 25 last week, its first appearance since the 1984-85 season, but dropped out despite a pair of 20-plus point wins.
The final week of the regular season in the power conferences features a number of Big Ten ranked battles. Ohio State visits Indiana on Tuesday and Michigan State hosts Wisconsin on Thursday, while Indiana will travel to Michigan on Sunday. Saturday's slate includes two huge Big East matchups as Syracuse visits Georgetown and Louisville hosts Notre Dame, while Big 12 supremacy could be on the line when Oklahoma State welcomes Kansas.