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Washington State receiving AP Top 25 votes for first time under Kyle Smith

Washington State’s Aljaz Kunc, left, high-fives teammate Isaac Bonton after the Cougars’ 59-55 victory over Oregon State at Beasley Coliseum on Dec. 2.  (Robert Hubner/Washington State Athletics)

As the only Pac-12 team that remains unbeaten after at least three games, Washington State is receiving votes in the Associated Press Top 25 men’s basketball poll for the first time since 2017.

The Cougars (3-0) received one vote in the poll that was released Monday, from Doug Doughty of the Roanoke Times. Doughty ranked WSU No. 23 on his ballot, which translates to three points in the Top 25 poll.

A WSU team hadn’t received votes in the Top 25 since winning the Wooden Legacy tournament under former coach Ernie Kent. Beating the likes of Saint Mary’s and San Diego State helped push the Cougars to a 6-0 start and they received 25 points in the Nov. 28, 2017, poll before absorbing their first loss of the season against UC Davis in their next game.

If the Cougars can remain unbeaten through their next stretch, they could have a chance to crack the Top 25 poll for the first time since 2007-08, when Tony Bennett’s team finished the season at No. 21 and was ranked as high as No. 4.

Among the teams receiving votes in Monday’s poll, the Cougars have the 13th-most points, but they’re one of just four teams in the Pac-12 either ranked or receiving votes.

At No. 23, Arizona State is currently the only team in the conference ranked in the poll, while Oregon (26 points) and UCLA (1 point), join the Cougars as teams receiving votes.

In its last game, WSU edged Oregon State 59-55 despite trailing by as many as 13 points in the second half. The Cougars’ first road Pac-12 game at Colorado was canceled due to WSU’s COVID-19 “developments,” but the school sent out a press release Monday with game notes for Wednesday’s Battle of the Palouse against Idaho, indicating the rivalry is still on.

Barring unforeseen circumstances, WSU will seemingly have a good chance of reaching 8-0 before its next Pac-12 game. The Cougars play five nonconference games before then, against teams that rank significantly lower on the scale: Idaho (342), Portland State (309), Montana State (189), Prairie View A&M (311) and Northwestern State (271).