PROVO — When the final Associated Press Top 25 basketball poll was released Wednesday morning, BYU found itself ranked No. 18.

It marks only the ninth time over the past 50 years that the Cougars have finished in the top-25 rankings — and the first time in nine seasons. 

BYU ended up No. 10 in the final AP poll in 2011; No. 17 in 2010; No. 24 in 2007; No. 19 in 1988; No. 12 in 1980; No. 16 in 1981; No. 9 in 1972; and No. 20 in 1971.  

Open letter to Ralph Haws: You missed TJ’s final run, but so did we all
Selection Sunday Silence: How BYU and Utah State might have been seeded, and how they might have fared — had there been a 2020 NCAA Tournament
‘Their legacy here at BYU is intact’: Mark Pope praises team’s accomplishments, hurts for seniors that won’t get to play in NCAA Tournament

The final AP poll is traditionally released before the start of the NCAA Tournament. Last week, the college basketball season was cut short, and the NCAA Tournament was canceled, due to the spread of COVID-19. 

In this week’s poll, BYU dropped four spots, from No. 14 to No. 18, after a 51-50 setback to Saint Mary’s in the West Coast Conference Tournament semifinals on March 9.

BYU posted a 24-8 overall record and won nine of its last 10 games. This season, the Cougars were ranked for the first time since the 2010-11 campaign.

Based on the final poll, three of BYU’s losses were at the hands of No. 1 Kansas, No. 2 Gonzaga and No. 6 San Diego State. Those three programs posted a combined record of 89-7. 

The Cougars’ season was highlighted by upsets over No. 2 Gonzaga — an epic 91-78 victory on senior night in front of a sellout crowd at the Marriott Center — and at No. 22 Houston. 

BYU also suffered three overtime road losses to Boise State, Utah and Saint Mary’s. Their final two setbacks were both by one point each — 83-82 at San Francisco and the 51-50 loss to Saint Mary’s in the league tournament. 

The Cougars garnered 537 points in the final AP poll, two points behind No. 17 Wisconsin. 

Including the teams also receiving votes in the AP poll, Utah State (36 points) finished No. 30 and Saint Mary’s (33 points) was No. 31. Utah received one point in the final poll.

BYU is among the teams that won’t have the chance to compete for the NCAA tournament title.

“It was just awful. We sat in a silent locker room with some tears for what was way too long,” first-year coach Mark Pope said last week after informing his team that the NCAA Tournament had been canceled and that the season had ended prematurely. “We won’t have that many times where this unit is together as a group, regrettably. It just can’t end. It’s too special. This group is too close. It’s too fun to compete for each other. And then it came to such a screeching, abrupt, halting end. The reality that we don’t get to compete on the floor again is almost too much to take right now.”