Michigan State falls outside of Associated Press Top 25 men's college basketball poll

Detroit News staff and wires

Michigan State has fallen out of this week's Associated Press men's basketball poll after another turbulent week that saw the Spartans drop games to unranked Penn State and No. 12 Illinois.

Since picking up wins in late January over Wisconsin and Michigan — with a one-point loss to Illinois sandwiched in between — Michigan State has been on a disastrous slide in the month of February, losing four of its last five and going 2-4 this month.

Michigan State's Malik Hall reacts after going to the floor scrambling for the ball in the second half.

Still, Michigan State led the field in "others receiving votes" outside the Top 25, so a quick turnaround could land the Spartans back in, but the road doesn't get any easier.

The Spartans get No. 4 Purdue at home on Saturday before traveling to Michigan and No. 22 Ohio State.

Gonzaga is the unanimous No. 1 in the latest Associated Press men's basketball poll. The Zags aren't likely to budge the way they're dominating the West Coast Conference.

More: As March quickly approaches, MSU men's hoops still lacks an identity

Gonzaga remained at No. 1 for the second straight week, receiving all 61 votes from a media panel in the poll released Monday. Arizona moved up a spot to No. 2 for its highest ranking in four years, with Auburn, Purdue and Kansas rounding out the top five.

Gonzaga (23-2, 12-0 WCC) has followed up last year's run to the national championship game with another dominating regular season. The Zags haven't lost since Dec. 4 and their lopsided wins over Pepperdine and Santa Clara last week clinched a 10th straight WCC regular-season title.

Gonzaga is winning its WCC games by an average of 27 points, one of the most dominant conference seasons in the past 25 years, according to KenPom.com. The Zags are on pace to match the 2019 team for largest margin of victory in conference games. They have four of the top five spots on that list in the last 25 years, joined by the 1999 Duke team.

“They could win the whole thing,” Pepperdine coach Lorenzo Romar said after an 86-66 loss to Gonzaga last Wednesday. “They have size, they have scoring ability, they can guard."

More: Illinois stymies Michigan State's comeback, strains Big Ten title hopes

Gonzaga closes out the regular season with road games against San Francisco and Saint Mary's before getting the top seed in the West Coast Conference tournament in Las Vegas.

Associated Press Top 25

1. Gonzaga (61 first-place votes), 23-2, 1525, (Last week: 1)

2. Arizona, 24-2, 1461 (3)

3. Auburn, 24-3, 1313 (2)

4. Purdue, 24-4, 1299 (5)

5. Kansas, 22-4, 1297 (6)

6. Kentucky, 22-5, 1248 (4)

7. Duke, 23-4, 1146 (9)

8. Villanova, 21-6, 1071 (10)

9. Texas Tech, 21-6, 1066 (11)

10. Baylor, 22-5, 984 (7)

11. Providence, 22-3, 910 (8)

12. UCLA, 19-5, 802 (13)

13. Wisconsin, 21-5, 735 (15)

14. Houston, 22-4, 734 (14)

15. Illinois, 19-7, 666 (12)

16. Southern Cal, 23-4, 586 (17)

17. Tennessee, 19-7, 580 (16)

18. Arkansas, 21-6, 502 (23)

19. Murray St., 26-2, 371 (21)

20. Texas, 19-8, 349 (20)

21. UConn, 19-7, 340 (24)

22. Ohio St., 16-7, 320 (18)

23. Saint Mary's (Cal), 22-6, 148 (NR)

24. Alabama,17-10, 63 (25)

25. Iowa, 18-8, 59, (NR)

Others receiving votes: Michigan St. 58, Rutgers 35, Wyoming 24, Boise St. 22, Davidson 19, San Diego St. 14, South Dakota St. 13, LSU 13, Marquette 12, Wake Forest 11, Colorado St. 10, Belmont 5, Notre Dame 4, SMU 3, Xavier 2, North Texas 2, Wagner 1, Vermont 1, Creighton 1.