The sky isn’t falling on Gonzaga’s season yet, but the Bulldogs couldn’t avoid another fall in this week’s Associated Press Top 25 poll after Friday’s loss to Baylor in South Dakota, dropping four places to No. 18.
Already this season the Bulldogs have seen multiple AP Top 25 streaks come to an end – consecutive weeks inside the top five, consecutive weeks inside the top 10 – and Monday’s ranking drops Gonzaga out of the top 15 for the first time since Jan. 1, 2018, when they were ranked No. 19. It ends a run of 91 consecutive weeks in the top 15.
Baylor, which was ranked No. 6 when the Bears met with Gonzaga at the Sanford Pentagon, dropped six spots to No. 12 after a blowout loss to Marquette on Tuesday and Friday’s 64-63 victory over the Bulldogs.
The sixth AP poll of the 2022-23 season featured Houston at No. 1, Texas at No. 2, Virginia at No. 3, Purdue at No. 4 and UConn at No. 5.
Gonzaga, which has three upcoming home games against Kent State, Washington and Northern Illinois, may have one more chance to pick up a top 10 win in nonconference play when it travels to Birmingham, Alabama, for a Dec. 17 matchup with Alabama. The Crimson Tide climbed to No. 8 in the AP rankings, but face top-ranked Houston on the road and Memphis at home before playing the Zags.
Texas, which handed Gonzaga its biggest lost of the season on Nov. 16 in Austin, Texas, received 14 first-place votes in this week’s AP poll and Purdue, which beat the Bulldogs by 18 points at the Phil Knight Legacy, collected eight.
With Michigan State dropping out of the Top 25, Gonzaga’s lone win against a ranked opponent is now Kentucky, which moved up three spots to No. 16 after beating Michigan in London.
The Spartans and one other Gonzaga opponent, Xavier, are both receiving Top 25 votes this week.
The Bulldogs debuted at No. 29 in the initial NCAA NET rankings, which came out Monday and took into account games played through Dec. 4. Among top 30 NET teams, Gonzaga and Duke are the only ones who’ve already played four “Quad 1” games. The Bulldogs are 1-3 in such games, beating Kentucky while losing to Texas, Purdue and Baylor.
Gonzaga’s nonconference and West Coast Conference schedule feature eight games against teams ranked inside the top 50 of the NET rankings. The Bulldogs have already played No. 3 Purdue, No. 12 Texas, No. 32 Baylor and No. 42 Kentucky, will play No. 8 Alabama and will see No. 16 Saint Mary’s at least twice during conference play.
In total, the WCC has seven teams ranked inside the top 117 of the NET rankings: No. 16 Saint Mary’s, No. 29 Gonzaga, No. 97 Portland, No. 107 Loyola Marymount, No. 106 San Francisco, No. 108 Pepperdine and No. 117 Santa Clara.
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