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No. 1 Ranking Delights Gonzaga's Devout Fan Base

SPOKANE, Wash. - Basketball fans in the Inland Northwest are in a very good mood today. The new Associated Press poll for men's college basketball ranks Gonzaga University number one in the country. It's a first for Gonzaga – and the state of Washington.

Traditional basketball powers like Indiana and Duke,just couldn't hold their grip on the top spot. But Spokane's small, Catholic school kept winning through the weekend, to practically guarantee them the top spot.

On the Gonzaga campus, school dining services celebrated by baking a 22-foot-long cake. And across town at the Rockwood Lane Retirement Community, 84-year-old Liz Gale put on her red “Zags” sweatshirt when she heard the news.

“In my lifetime, I didn't expect to see it, from such a small school.”

Gale has been going to see the Zags for more than 43 years – starting back when they played at the Armory downtown. Flashforward to a multimillion dollar arena and 11 consecutive West Coast Conference titles. Now, fans like Gale think Gonzaga could be a major force in this year's national tournament.

“They've really brought their aggressive style," Gales says. "And when they're on, they're on I tell you – and that's most of the time.”

Gonzaga's No. 1 ranking is good timing: college basketball's March Madness tips off mid-month.

On the Web:

Gonzaga Men's Basketball -