Purdue remained atop the AP Top 25 men’s college basketball poll for the third straight week on Monday, while Gonzaga fell to No. 24 after a loss to San Diego State, but kept alive its streak of 142 consecutive weeks in the survey.
The Boilermakers earned three more first-place votes and earned 49 of 63 from the national media panel, easily edging out second-place Kansas, which received five first-place nominations. Houston remained third despite keeping its perfect record intact with a win over Penn and earning the other nine first-place votes.
UConn and Tennessee each moved up one spot to round out the top five following Arizona’s loss to Stanford on Sunday.
Meanwhile, the Bulldogs fell 11 spots from 13th after their 84-74 loss to San Diego State. Gonzaga has appeared in every poll since Jan. 11, 2016, but that streak is in jeopardy after coach Mark Few’s team fell to 9-4 with no wins in Quad 1 this season.
“These guys have a lot of fight, spirit and a lot of substance,” Few said, “but at this point, we should be pretty far on some of the mental mistakes we’re making, and we’re just not there.”
The Bulldogs were ranked 11th in the preseason poll and climbed as high as seventh before three losses in their last five games.
“We’ve got to keep that fight going,” Few said, “and we’ve got to clean up some of these missed assignments.”
Arizona coach Tommy Lloyd knows a thing or two about missed defensive assignments. The Wildcats, who spent two weeks at No. 1 earlier this season, fell from fourth to 10th after the Cardinal cruised to a 100-82 victory in their Pac-12 matchup.
The Wildcats’ second loss in three games allowed a group of teams to jump ahead of them: Kentucky moved up two spots to sixth, Marquette moved up three spots to seventh, North Carolina moved up to eighth and Illinois moved up two spots to ninth. .
Oklahoma moved into 11th place, with Big 12 newcomer BYU right behind. Colorado State moved up to No. 13 to match the highest ranking in school history, set earlier this season, while Duke, Memphis and Clemson were just behind the Rams.
FAU fell from the seventh-best program to No. 17 as voters grappled with the strange resume the Owls have put together this season. They beat Texas A&M and got a big win with a double-overtime win over Arizona, but lost to Bryant and were upset by Florida Gulf Coast on Saturday night.
“They outplayed us in every aspect of the game,” Owls coach Dusty May said afterward. “As a group, we haven’t handled success as well as we should. As we close out the 2023 pre-conference schedule, we’re happy with where we are overall, but what we’ve learned is that our highs are very high and our lows are relatively low.
Baylor was ranked No. 18, with James Madison and Texas rounding out the top 20. The bottom five in the first 2024 poll were Wisconsin, undefeated Mississippi, Providence, Gonzaga and Auburn, which is ranked for the first time this season.
RISE AND FALL
Memphis made the biggest positive move, moving up four spots to No. 15 after beating Austin Peay, while Marquette moved up three spots to seventh after beating No. 22 Creighton on Saturday. Gonzaga fell 11 spots, FAU fell 10 and Arizona lost six as they suffered losses in what was a relatively light slate of games over the break.
IN AND OUT
Auburn entered the poll for the first time since Jan. 30, 2023, after improving to 10-2 with a win over Chattanooga. The Tigers snatched their spot in the Top 25 from the Bluejays, whose 72-67 loss to Marquette was their third in four games.
There were 10 conferences represented in this week’s poll, led by six of the Big 12, which also featured four of the top 12 teams in the country. The SEC was next with four, followed by the Big Ten, Big East and ACC with three each.