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Road to No. 1: Everyone not named Gonzaga lost last night

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The path is now open for Gonzaga to become the “top” team in the nation.

NCAA Basketball: Portland at Gonzaga James Snook-USA TODAY Sports

Villanova 72, Marquette 74.

Kansas 69, West Virginia 85.

Kentucky 80, Tennessee 82.

Last night was one of the more entertaining nights in college basketball history. The No. 1, No. 2, and No. 4 teams all lost, mostly in nail-biting fashion. All that was left when the dust settled was the No. 3 Gonzaga Bulldogs, waiting for WCC play to roll around on Thursday.

The path is set for the Zags to slide right on in to the No. 1 spot in the AP votes come next Monday. Kansas, albeit faced a tough road, with both West Virginia and now Kentucky on the road. But Kentucky’s loss to Tennessee takes them down a notch. And with it, the Zags, as long as they take care of business, have the best opportunity all season to move into that top ranking.

Does that matter in the grand scheme of things when it comes to March Madness? Not at all.

Is it the best thing in the planet when the Gonzaga Bulldogs are the No. 1 team in the nation? Sure as hell it is.

The dream of Gonzaga started in 1999, and there have been some mighty rises and some mighty falls along the way. The Zags have hit the No. 1 seed before, but that doesn’t make what is happening this season any less exciting. If anything, the voters recognizing Gonzaga is just the cherry on the top of the frosting.

Still, all that is left after that is everything. A No. 1 team doesn’t demand respect, it still has to earn it. Just ask the Zags the last time around, who still are dogged about being some overrated junkyard, despite the fact that Wichita State advanced to the Final Four that year.

A No. 1 ranking is the biggest target on the back possible for Gonzaga. This squad already has a mondo one, but it will get even bigger.

None of that matters in the end, however. Because this team has shown it can take adversity head on and still come out on top. This season has been a glorious ride, and it looks like it will keep getting better and better.