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Gonzaga Basketball

Gonzaga drops to No. 2 behind Baylor in AP basketball poll

Gonzaga’s Drew Timme (2) heads to the basket against Santa Clara’s Jaden Bediako last Thursday at the McCarthey Athletic Center. (Colin Mulvany / The Spokesman-Review)

Gonzaga’s four-week run at the top of the AP college basketball poll is over.

The Bulldogs (20-1, 6-0 WCC) slipped to No. 2 behind Baylor (15-1), which became the seventh different team to hold the No. 1 ranking, equaling the record for most in a season set in 1982-83.

Gonzaga took care of business, blasting Santa Clara, then No. 80 in the NET rankings by 50 points and defeating then No. 33 BYU by 23. Baylor stretched its winning streak to 14 with a home win over Iowa State (currently No. 82) and a road victory over Oklahoma State (No. 78).

Baylor holds a three-point edge over Gonzaga, which was seven points in front of the Bears a week ago. Baylor received 33 first-place votes, up two from last Monday, and 1,591 points. Gonzaga had 31 first-place votes, up one, and 1,588 points.

“Gonzaga was merely a victim of its conference schedule,” wrote Dave Skretta in the AP article. “The Bulldogs blew out Santa Clara and BYU, but just enough voters considered those wins to be less impressive than the Bears’ perfect Big 12 start.”

It wasn’t immediately known when the last time a No. 1 team during the regular season fell from the top spot without losing. Last year, Duke moved past preseason No. 1 Kansas in the first regular-season poll after clobbering then No. 2 Kentucky 118-84 while the Jayhawks defeated No. 10 Michigan State.

Baylor is No. 1 for the second time in program history. The Bears reached No. 1 in January 2017. They entertain Oklahoma on Monday night before visiting Florida, which knocked off then No. 4 Auburn 69-47 on Saturday. Gonzaga entertains Pacific on Saturday.

John Jakus, former Gonzaga director of operations, is in his third season as a Baylor assistant coach. Former Zag walk-on Rem Bakamus is a grad assistant for the Bears.

The top 10 reshuffled after another week of ranked teams absorbing losses. Kansas is No. 3, followed by San Diego State, Florida State, Louisville, Dayton, Duke, Villanova and Seton Hall. BYU received two points.

No. 24 Rutgers cracked the top 25 for the first time since the 1978-79 season.

Gonzaga retained the top spot in the USA Today poll, but its lead shrunk from 11 points to four over No. 2 Baylor. The Zags received 19 first-place votes while Baylor had 13.

Saint Mary’s received seven points, tied for 14th in the receiving votes category.

Gonzaga reached No. 1 in AP’s week 8 poll with a commanding lead over No. 2 Ohio State. Baylor was No. 7 and Michigan, which handed the Zags their only loss, was No. 11. San Diego State was 15th and Florida State 17th.

Four weeks later, Baylor has nudged Gonzaga out of the top spot. Ohio State and Michigan have faded out of the top 25. San Diego State, the lone unbeaten in Division I, is No. 4, followed by Florida State.

ESPN’s latest bracketology still projects Gonzaga as a No. 1 seed, but the Zags dropped to the second overall seed behind Baylor. Joe Lunardi has Gonzaga staying in Spokane to face the Grambling/Norfolk State winner in the first round.

Lunardi projects Saint Mary’s as a nine seed and BYU as a 10.

Gonzaga has climbed to No. 3 in the NET rankings, one of the tools used by the selection committee to sort, select and seed prospective NCAA Tournament teams. The Zags were seventh a week ago.

Baylor is No. 1, followed by San Diego State, GU, Kansas and Dayton.