On Monday, the new AP poll came out and the Gonzaga Bulldogs are the countries newest #1 team. Indiana, Duke, Louisville, and Michigan all have squandered their opportunities to solidify themselves as the best team in the nation, so finally the voters decided to give it to the team with the best record.
The Bulldogs are 29-2 on the year, losing to Illinois by 11 and Butler by one. Although they play in an an underrated WCC, Gonzaga actually has plenty of quality wins. They beat #9 Kansas State, #13 Oklahoma State, Baylor, St Mary’s twice, and BYU twice. They are currently on a 12-game win streak and went a perfect 16-0 in conference play.
A lot of their success has to be attributed to Mark Few. Few started his coaching career at Gonzaga in 1989 and became the head coach in 1999. In his 14 seasons as the head coach, Few has led the Bulldogs to 12 WCC regular season titles, 9 WCC Tournament championships (10 if he wins this year), 14 NCAA tournament appearances, has won 9 WCC Coach of the Year Awards (10 if he wins this year), and posted a remarkable 371-92 record.
Few has always been known to have one of the most balances and well structured teams in the country. In the past it’s been upperclassmen who have led his teams such as Adam Morrison, Jeremy Pargo, Matt Bouldin, and Robert Sacre, and this year Elias Harris and Kelly Olynyk are upholding that tradition. Surrounding the two superstars are fantastic passers, lights out shooters, and hard nosed defenders. Ten guys play at least 10 minutes a game and only four of those ten play over 20 minutes.
Gonzaga became the 57th team to hold the #1 spot since the AP poll started in 1949. Mark Few deserves the Coach of the Year Award this season, but in case he doesn’t get it I am highlighting him here.
In honor of Mark Few’s 24 years working at Gonzaga, the number of the week is 24. I wish the Bulldogs luck in holding the #1 spot that has plagued teams with bad games all season, and give you 24 of the most interesting statistics from the past week in sports.
0 wins for Penn State in Big Ten play before shocking #4 Michigan 84-78 on Wednesday night. The Nittany Lions came in at 8-18 with their best win being an overtime victory over Providence early in the season. On Saturday they preceded to lose by 29 to Minnesota.
1 second left in the Baylor-Kansas State game, it was tied, and Baylor had to go the full length of the court to win. Jacob Neubert, averaging just two minutes per game this year, was put in to throw a full court pass. His pass sailed out of bounds and Kansas State capitalized on the inbound when Rodney McGruder nailed the three to win it. Next time just let it go to overtime, Scott Drew.
2 games all season where Jeff Withey has not recorded a block. Monday in Kansas’s overtime thriller against Iowa State was the second time. The only other game he didn’t was in the Jayhawks’ win over Kansas State earlier in the year. Don’t worry, Withey returned to his normal self on Saturday with nine blocks against West Virginia.
3 goals, or a hat-trick for Mike Magee in the first game of the 2013 MLS season. The defending champion Los Angeles Galaxy did not miss a beat without David Beckham, beating Chicago 4-0 in dominating fashion.
4.82 seconds was Manti Te’o's official 40-yard dash time, and his draft stock took a big hit because of it. A lot of players don’t participate in the Combine, even Te’o didn’t lift. So why run Manti? Why?
5th week this year that at least three of the top 5 teams in college basketball have lost. Last week four of them lost: Indiana to Minnesota, Duke to Virginia, Michigan to Penn State, and Miami to Duke. It’s one big game of hot potato for the #1 ranking.
7 over par for Rory McIlroy in nine holes on Friday before he walked off the course and withdrew from the Honda Classic because of “sore wisdom teeth”. Tiger Woods won the US Open in his first tournament back from arthroscopic knee surgery in 2008.
9 straight games for Al Horford with 20+ points. Dating back to February 11 against the Mavericks, Horford is shooting 65% from the floor, 10% better than his season average and averaging 24.7 points per game, seven points better than his season average.
11 straight wins for Georgetown after wins at UConn and against Rutgers this past week. Otto Porter had 50 points in the two games and is averaging 19.7 points per game over the 11-game stretch. Since starter Greg Whittington was ruled academically ineligible, the Hoyas are 13-1.
13 rebounds in the first quarter for Tyson Chandler in the Knicks win over Golden State on Wednesday night. He finished with 28.
14 straight wins for the Heat after beating Sacramento, Memphis, and New York over the past week. They don’t play an above .500 team for four more games so look for this streak to continue.
17 offensive rebounds for the Minnesota Golden Gophers in their upset of #1 Indiana on Tuesday night.
22 straight games with a point for the Chicago Blackhawks. They have gone to overtime 10 times during the stretch and are 7-3. Down 1-0 on Sunday to the Red Wings with 2:03 to play, Patrick Kane tied the game and kept the streak alive.
26% shooting percentage for Fairfield and Manhattan in a 34-31 Manhattan victory. They also shot 50% from the line. I’m glad I didn’t have to watch that.
30 three pointers made by Kansas and Iowa State in their game on Monday night. Kansas won 108-96, but Iowa State won the three battle, 17-13. They combined to go 30/63 from behind the arc.
32 points for Chandler Parsons on 12-13 from the field. He’s just the second player in the past three years to score 30+ and shoot 90% from the field. The other was Lebron James just a couple weeks ago during his remarkable six-game stretch.
36 points for Ryan Kelly in his first game back from injury against Miami. When he went down earlier in the year everyone knocked Duke from National Championship contenter talks; I think they might be back in it now.
39 points for Elijah Johnson in Kansas’s win over Iowa State. He scored 30 in the second half and overtime. His season high before this performance was 18, so maybe he’s ready to be the go-to guy he was predicted to be, before the season.
47% combined free throw percentage in the Memphis-Xavier game. Xavier won by two, but Memphis was just 6-18 from the charity stripe. The Tigers are 25-4 and usually that’s the record of a dangerous team, but they haven’t had a quality win all season.
54 points for Stephen Curry on Wednesday night in Madison Square Garden. He made 11 of 13 threes and put on one of the greatest shooting displays the league has seen in a long time.
79 points for Lebron James and Dwyane Wade on Tuesday night. The Heat have a six and a half game lead over the Pacers and expect that to continue to grow.
2010 was the last time the Blue Jackets had a home, overtime goal, until Artem Anisimov broke the streak with a wrist shot on Sunday to beat the Avalanche.