GNAC men’s basketball this season is loaded at the top — specifically Western Washington, Seattle Pacific and Central Washington, and not necessarily in that order.

The defending national champion Vikings are 7-0, have won 13 straight dating back to last season and are rolling under new coach Tony Dominguez. SPU, the preseason coaches pick to win the title, is 8-1 with 6-foot-11 Andy Poling and 6-8 WSU transfer Patrick Simon up front along with standout point guard David Downs.

Central, 5-2 going into Tuesday night’s home game with Evergreen State, is still blending in several newcomers including shooting guard Mark McLaughlin, the Washington transfer, who presently ranks fourth nationally in scoring at 25.6 points per game.

So, dates to watch regarding these three teams: Jan. 3, Western at SPU; Jan. 10, Central at Western; Jan. 19, SPU at Central; Feb. 2, SPU at Western; Feb. 14, Central at SPU; and Feb. 9, Western at Central.