CONGRATULATIONS to Gonzaga University Bulldogs’ players and coaches. The team, which always plays the game at a high level, is ranked No. 1 in college basketball.

The Bulldogs topped The Associated Press poll on Monday, as well as the USA Today coaches poll. The Zags moved up from No. 2 last week with a comfortable margin of votes.

The Zags are consistently strong performers, and the team is not a stranger to national rankings, but to be No. 1 is a first for the program. This means Gonzaga topped the likes of Indiana, at No. 2, Georgetown at No. 5 and UCLA at No. 23.

Coach Mark Few is in his 14th year as head coach and in his 24th year with the basketball program. His tenacity of spirit, high expectations and quality of recruiting and coaching are evident.

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Few put the ranking in a sharper perspective for those of us dazzled by the headlines:

“The polls mean a lot more this time of year than they do in November, December, even January,” Few said. “All of us are being judged on the true body of work. It’s definitely rewarding.”

One can imagine the Zags are delighted by the recognition, but not distracted. A team only gets to No. 1 by being focused on the next win.