Gon­zaga stays No. 1 in men’s AP Top 25 after light sched­ule

The Saratogian (Saratoga, NY) - - SPORTS - By John Mar­shall AP Basketball Writer

A light hol­i­day sched­ule led to a rare quiet week atop The As­so­ci­ated Press men’s col­lege basketball poll.

Gon­zaga re­mained at No. 1 for a sec­ond straight week, re­ceiv­ing 63 first-place votes from a 65-mem­ber panel in the poll re­leased Mon­day. No. 2 Duke and No. 3 Kansas each had one first-place vote, with Ore­gon and Ohio State round­ing out the top five.

The AP Top 25 had been filled with tu­mult dur­ing a 2019-20 sea­son of par­ity, with six dif­fer­ent teams mov­ing to No. 1 be­fore Christ­mas. That’s one short of the all-time record of seven, set in 1982-83.

The quiet time be­tween Christ­mas and New Year’s Day of­fered a bit of sta­bil­ity.

The Zags (13-1) did not play last week dur­ing a Top 25 sched­ule filled with lop­sided games and just two matchups be­tween ranked teams.

Ohio State dropped three

places after los­ing 67-59 to West Vir­ginia, which climbed six places to No. 16.

Louisville was down four places to No. 7 fol­low­ing a 78-70 loss to Ken­tucky. The Wild­cats climbed two places to No. 19.

Nearly ev­ery other game in­volv­ing Top 25 teams was de­cided by dou­ble dig­its.

Gon­zaga, which has not played since beat­ing East­ern Washington 112-77 on Dec. 21, has games against Detroit Mercy and Port­land this week. SOAR­ING DUCKS Ore­gon en­tered the sea­son loaded with ex­pec­ta­tions be­hind do-ev­ery­thing guard Pay­ton Pritchard and an­other stel­lar re­cruit­ing class landed by coach Dana Alt­man.

The Ducks (11-2) have lived up to the hype, their only losses com­ing in backto-back games against Ore­gon and North Carolina at the Bat­tle 4 At­lantis in the Ba­hamas.

Ore­gon has wins over three ranked teams and blew out Alabama State 98-59 on Sun­day to move into the top five for the first time since reach­ing No. 4 in 2016-17, when the Ducks went to the Fi­nal Four.

Ore­gon also got a huge boost ear­lier this month when 6-foot-11 fresh­man N’Faly Dante be­came el­i­gi­ble after re­clas­si­fy­ing as a 2019 signee. STILL UN­DE­FEATED The num­ber of un­de­feated Divi­sion I teams is down to two fol­low­ing Lib­erty’s 74-57 loss to LSU.

No. 8 Auburn has con­tin­ued to play well fol­low­ing its run to last year’s Fi­nal Four, im­prov­ing to 12-0 after rolling over Lip­scomb 86-59 last week. The Tigers have had two close games this sea­son, beat­ing South Alabama by one and out­last­ing Fur­man in over­time.

No. 13 San Diego State im­proved to 13-0 and moved up two spots this week fol­low­ing a 73-57 win over Cal Poly. The Aztecs have wins over Utah, Brigham Young and Creighton this sea­son and moved atop the NCAA’s NET rank­ings last week.

San Diego State is off to its best start in nine sea­sons. RIS­ING West Vir­ginia had the big­gest jump in this week’s poll with its six-spot climb. No other team climbed more than two places. FALL­ING No. 7 Louisville had the big­gest fall this week, los­ing four spots. No. 19 Vir­ginia lost three spots after beat­ing Navy by nine on Sun­day. MOV­ING IN/OUT Wi­chita State was the only team to move into the poll this week, de­but­ing at No. 24. The Shock­ers, who beat Abi­lene Chris­tian 8466 on Sun­day, are ranked for the first time since climb­ing to No. 3 in 2017-18.


Gon­zaga for­ward Corey Kis­pert, left, shoots and is fouled by East­ern Washington for­ward Ma­son Peatling dur­ing the sec­ond half of an NCAA col­lege basketball game in Spokane, Wash., Satur­day, Dec. 21, 2019. Gon­zaga won 112-77.

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