Gonzaga expected to hit No. 1 on Monday
BY NICOLE AUERBACH USA Today
Monday, March 04, 2013
3/04/13 at 5:52 AM
While the rest of college basketball has been in a state of flux, providing upsets daily, Gonzaga has won game after game after game - going 16-0 in conference play.
Slowly but surely, every team above them in the polls has fallen. When the new polls are released on Monday, the Bulldogs are expected to be No. 1 for the first time in program history.
Gonzaga earned a double bye in the West Coast Conference tournament, so the Zags don't play again until Saturday's semifinals in Las Vegas. A win then would mean they would be just the second team since the calendar turned to 2013 to hold the top spot in the coaches poll in consecutive weeks.
With the top ranking comes a great deal of outside attention, from the media and fans. Gonzaga coach Mark Few told USA Today Sports that he doesn't think his team is going to get too full of itself just because of a new number next to its name.
Few said he would handle the week off just as he has with past Gonzaga teams: Give his players a few days to rest, then spend most of practice working on areas in which he wants to see improvement - late-game situations, the way they attack zone defenses, etc.
Few doesn't expect the long layoff to be a hindrance, either, even as the media attention (and scrutiny) will surely grow.
Former Wake Forest coach Dino Gaudio, now an analyst at ESPN, knows the challenges Few faces with the No. 1 ranking attached to his team's name. Gaudio's Demon Deacons spent the 2008-09 season ranked, taking the top spot in January of that season.
"More than anything, the players need to make sure they stay focused on the task at hand," Gaudio said. "Those kids are hearing, reading and seeing everything. What happens is you have to make sure all the good things that are being said about the players doesn't soften them. In other words, everybody's patting them on the back, telling them how good they are, they're No. 1 in the country. It's a challenge as a coach to keep them on task."
Original Print Headline: Gonzaga to hit new heights