Just about the only thing Gonzaga has left to accomplish under Mark Few is win a national championship.
The 'Zags scratched another first off the list Monday: They will open the season at No. 1.
Despite losing West Coast Conference player of the year Filip Petrusev, the Bulldogs received 28 first-place votes and 1,541 points from a 64-member national media panel. That was just enough to edge Baylor (24 first-place votes) by a single point for the top spot in the preseason Associated Press Top 25 heading toward the delayed Nov. 25 start of the season.
"It's a great honor to be selected No. 1," Few said. "We understand that it is more a reflection of what our program has accomplished over the years and hope to play up to that standard as we start our season."
Villanova received 11 first-place votes and was third, followed by Virginia with the remaining first-place vote. Iowa was picked fifth behind national player of the year front-runner Luka Garza, its highest preseason ranking in school history.
Then came a wave of bluebloods with Kansas, Wisconsin, Illinois, Duke and Kentucky completing the top 10.
The Bulldogs spent four weeks at No. 1 last season before finishing second to the Jayhawks in the final poll, which was taken when the NCAA Tournament was canceled by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Petrusev's choice to play professionally in Serbia and then enter the draft was a blow, but the Bulldogs still have the pieces to win it all. Corey Kispert and Joel Ayayi provide scoring punch and potential one-and-done guard Jalen Suggs should steady their backcourt.