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Gonzaga drops out of Associated Press Top 25 for first time since 2016

Jan. 15—The Gonzaga men's basketball team still has a chance to preserve a handful of streaks with approximately two months left of the 2023-24 college basketball season, but the Zags watched another one vanish Monday when the latest edition of the Associated Press Top 25 rankings came out.

Gonzaga (11-5, 2-1) dropped out of the AP poll for the first time since March 14, 2016, ending the nation's longest active streak at 143 consecutive appearances. It was a predictable development after 23rd-ranked Gonzaga lost 77-76 to Santa Clara on Thursday at the Leavey Center — the program's first loss to the Broncos in 12 years.

Two of the Bulldogs' nonconference opponents are now holding down the top spots in the AP poll. UConn (15-2), which cruised to a 76-63 win over Gonzaga on Dec. 15 in Seattle, took the No. 1 ranking from Purdue (15-2), which beat the Zags 73-63 at the Maui Invitational.

UConn, the reigning national champion, claimed the top ranking for the first time since March 9, 2009. The Huskies have won three NCAA titles since their last No. 1 ranking. The AP doesn't release a poll at the end of the NCAA Tournament.

The Boilermakers came in at No. 2 on Monday, followed by No. 3 Kansas (14-2), No. 4 North Carolina (13-3) and No. 5 Houston (14-2).

Gonzaga received five points in Monday's poll, with 15 teams separating them and No. 25 Texas Tech. The Bulldogs were omitted from 61 of 63 AP ballots submitted on Monday.

Gonzaga may find it hard to crack the Top 25 again, considering the Zags face just one other ranked opponent — Kentucky — the remainder of the regular season.

There were plenty of shakeups in the poll after an especially turbulent week for Top 25 teams. Gonzaga was one of 14 ranked teams to lose to an unranked opponent.

Others who suffered such losses included No. 1 Purdue, No. 2 Houston (twice), No. 3 Kansas, No. 5 Tennessee, No. 6 Kentucky, No. 8 Arizona, No. 9 Oklahoma, No. 10 Illinois, No. 11 Marquette, No. 17 Colorado St, No. 19 SDSU, No. 21 Clemson, and No. 25 Texas.

Arizona, coached by former Gonzaga assistant Tommy Lloyd, fell four spots in the rankings after a 73-70 loss to Washington State in Pullman on Saturday.

Roughly two weeks after beating the Zags in Spokane, San Diego State dropped out of the Top 25 following an 88-70 loss at New Mexico.

Kentucky, which hosts Gonzaga in a nonconference game on Feb. 10, managed to stay inside the top-10 but dropped two spots to No. 8 after losing 97-92 to Texas A&M.

The Zags have dropped seven spots, from No. 43 to 50, in the NCAA's NET ratings since Thursday's loss, but they're still ranked No. 27 in KenPom. Previously No. 21, Gonzaga also fell out of the USA Today Coaches' Poll on Monday . The Bulldogs are ninth among teams receiving votes, receiving 11 points on Monday.

Gonzaga's losses continue to impact its projected seed line in the NCAA Tournament. In an ESPN projection released the day after GU's loss to Santa Clara, bracketologist Joe Lunardi listed the Bulldogs as a No. 9 seed opening the tournament against No. 8 Ole Miss in Indianapolis. Lunardi projects Gonzaga to earn an at-large berth with Saint Mary's grabbing a second NCAA bid for the West Coast Conference as the champion of the league tournament.

Gonzaga has resided near the top of the AP poll for a majority of the last seven years, including 35 weeks at No. 1, 80 weeks in the top-5 and 109 weeks in the top-10. The 2023-24 Bulldogs are in jeopardy of becoming the first GU team since 2015-16 to not finish the season inside the top-10.

Gonzaga's streak of consecutive AP Top 25 appearances was the longest active streak in the nation and the 10th-longest streak in the poll's history. Houston, which made its 75th consecutive appearance on Monday, now holds the longest active streak.