Coach Mark Few’s Gonzaga team has established itself as the clear No. 1 team in the country with a series of blowouts. Steve Dykes/Associated Press

Gonzaga and Baylor were the top two teams in The Associated Press preseason men’s college basketball poll. After eight weeks of twists and turns, that hasn’t changed.

The Zags received 63 of 64 first-place votes from a national media panel in the poll released Monday and the Bears had the other one. Villanova, Texas and Iowa rounded out a top 5 that remained the same from last week.

Gonzaga and Baylor split most of the first-place votes in the preseason AP Top 25, but the Zags have become the clear-cut No. 1 after stringing together a series of routs.

Gonzaga (12-0) has wins over No. 5 Iowa, No. 6 Kansas, No. 13 West Virginia and No. 18 Virginia, the closest game a five-point win over the Mountaineers.

The Zags continued the rout route last week, beating BYU 86-69 and Portland 116-88. Joel Ayayi had the first triple-double in school history against Portland, finishing with 12 points, 14 assists and 13 rebounds.

Gonzaga, which had five games canceled due to COVID-19 issues last month, has won 16 straight dating to last season.

“They come at you in waves and multiple guys that can dribble and push out,” Portland coach Terry Porter said.

Baylor (11-0) also has yet to be seriously tested.

The Bears’ closest game was an 11-point victory over Iowa State on Jan. 2 and they won two lopsided games last week, beating Oklahoma 76-61 and TCU 67-49.

WOMEN’S BASKETBALL

TOP 25 POLL: Kamie Ethridge was surprised to hear that Washington State had never been ranked before.

Now the Cougars coach can add that to the team’s list of accomplishments: They entered The Associated Press women’s college basketball poll at No. 25 on Monday.

“I honestly didn’t know we’d never been ranked,” Ethridge said. “I heard a lot about the lows we’ve experienced and talked to our team about the fact we have no banners. We have one NCAA Tournament appearance in the history of the NCAAs. A big part of our recruiting players was about hanging the first banner and being a first. How exciting it is to be on the way up.”

The ranking comes a day after Washington State beat then-No. 7 Arizona 71-69 in overtime on a buzzer-beating layup by freshman Charlisse Leger-Walker. Washington State (7-1) has won five of its first six Pac-12 games for the first time since the 2013-14 season.

“We’re enjoying the process right now,” said Ethridge, who took over the program in 2018. “The team has had a lot of firsts and this is another one of those. We’ll celebrate and acknowledge and enjoy the feeling.”

While Washington State was enjoying its first ranking, Stanford tightened its grip on the No. 1 spot in the poll. The Cardinal received 29 of the 30 first-place votes from a national media panel. They were followed by Louisville, North Carolina State, UConn and South Carolina. The Wolfpack received the other No. 1 vote.

FOOTBALL

HALL OF FAME: Heisman Trophy winner Carson Palmer and former Oklahoma coach Bob Stoops are among the 13 former players and coaches who make up the latest College Football Hall of Fame class.

The National Football Foundation announced the newly elected hall of famers Monday. This class will be inducted in December.

Joining Southern Cal’s Palmer and Stoops will be versatile running backs Darren Sproles of Kansas State and C.J. Spiller of Clemson; offensive tackles Harris Barton of North Carolina and Aaron Taylor of Notre Dame; defensive stars David Fulcher of Arizona State, Dan Morgan of Miami; Kenneth Sims of Texas; Andre Tippett of Iowa and Al Wilson of Tennessee. Former Eastern Illinois quarterback and current CBS NFL analyst Tony Romo was also selected for induction along with former Florida A&M coach Rudy Hubbard.

Palmer won the Heisman in 2002 for the Trojans and went on to be the first overall pick in the 2003 NFL draft by the Cincinnati Bengals.

Stoops coached Oklahoma from 1999-2016, leading the Sooners to their last national championship in 2000. Oklahoma went to two more BCS title games with Stoops and won 10 Big 12 championships.

He is the sixth Oklahoma coach to be inducted into the Atlanta-based Hall of Fame, including Bud Wilkinson and Barry Switzer.


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