AP Preseason College Basketball Poll – Gonzaga #1 For First Time
The Gonzaga Bulldogs are ranked at the top of the AP college basketball preseason poll for the first time in school history.
In the 2018 preseason poll, Gonzaga was ranked third, their highest previous preseason ranking prior to this year. The 2020-21 college basketball season will commence Thanksgiving weekend, on November 25th.
Gonzaga barely edged out the Baylor Bears who are ranked second, followed by Villanova, Illinois and Iowa. Wisconsin, Virginia, Kansas, Kentucky and Tennessee round out the top ten.
No Duke? No North Carolina? Well, Duke is ranked 11th. Much to the embarrassment of the PNW hoop faithful, the only other northwest team ranked is Oregon, and the Ducks are all the way down at #27 to start the year.
The Bulldogs are ranked at the top, just like they were before COVID-19 did its damage, prior to the start of the 2019 NCAA tournament, causing the first of a cascade of postponements and subsequently, cancellations across the sports landscapes and society in general around the world.
Gonzaga returns their core players from last year's stellar lineup, and they have added highly touted freshman Jalen Suggs. Plus, Gonzaga's non-conference schedule in 2020 is much stronger and will hopefully keep the Zags sharp throughout the season as some of the WCC competition is quite inadequate in preparing a team for a run against top notch competition night in and night out which is obviously preferred to improve.
Kansas, Auburn, Baylor and Iowa are the Zags' first four opponents. Oh yeah, the Bulldogs will get an early gauge on where they stand against the country's best.
Baylor is a solid number two and the Bears are led by Jared Butler, who is the Big 12 Preseason Player of the Year. The Bears will need to handle the expectation of being the team to beat in the Big 12.
Gonzaga opens the season on Thanksgiving, November 26th, participating in a tournament in the Sunshine State, the Fort Meyers Tipoff, in Florida. The Zags play 8th ranked Kansas at 10:30 a.m. PST and then 8:00 a.m. PST the following day against Auburn on November 27th. The Baylor Bears and Gonzaga will tangle December 5th in Indianapolis and then the Zags will play the 5th ranked Iowa Hawkeyes in Sioux Falls, South Dakota on December 19th.
Click here for the entire 2020-21 Gonzaga schedule.